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Mariano Mores: Miguel Angel of tango

The eximio pianist and composer took the porteña soul to heavenly heights, with a majestic sound that would be the inspiration of the triumphant Argentine Tango in the world.

Mariano Mores

 The tango was born with Villoldo and Arolas, Gardel, Troilo and Piazzolla transformed it into a city's soundband, and Mariano Mores imagined a universal genre that would be our cultural identity in the world.   In the manner of a musical Michelangelo, Mores elevated a symphonic cathedral that made the humble melodies born on the banks of the Rio de la Plata shine, either on an avenue like 9 de Julio, in a canteen in La Boca, or the Teatro Colón. Enrique Santos Discépolo, Enrique Cadícamo, Homero Manzi or Cátulo Castillo were his lyricists; Francisco Canaro, Troilo and Osvaldo Pugliese interpreted their songs, if some ever doubted his tango heart, perhaps sent for his resounding successes from “Cuartito Azul”, composed of age 17, or for inventing the tango-show that would be sweeping Broadway and Paris since 1983.  Mores found the vital point between the existential drama of the 2x4 and the passions that fall in love with men, and women, on foot. If you are a compatriot, the chest is inflated safely with “Adiós Pampa mía” or “Uno”, lyrics and music of the Argentine being  “Con el singing your winds /And the sob of vigüelas/That I was happy at times/And others made me cry” because “You search full of hope/... You know that the struggle is cruel/and is a lot but it struggles and bleed/for the faith that stumbled it”

Mariano Alberto Martínez was born in Buenos Aires on February 18, 1918, more precisely in San Telmo, and in a Spanish tango fan family. His grandfather had been a band conductor and his father was a cultured man who liked to take Marianito to Teatro Colón, the first coliseum where Mores would carry tango with a symphony orchestra in 1952.  Family avatars take Martinez to Tres Arroyos, where a piano teacher ruled that Canaro's future pianist lacked musical talent, and again to Flores, here would be the Buenos Aires neighborhood that would incubate Mariano's artistic passion. At the age of ten he was received as a piano master . He travels to Spain and gets a scholarship in Salamanca, already turned into a child prodigy, “Lolo, the composer and pianist lightning”, and who amazed with his ability to improvisation on two or three notes that the public sang to him.  But a momentous event would happen on the Rambla in Barcelona when his father escapes a tear listening to a tango by Carlos Gardel, whom Mores did not know.   Soon, the family returns to Buenos Aires and his father dies, so Mariano must contribute to the breadwinner of the home. “My romance with tango began when I was 14 years old; I was traveling on a tram running along Corrientes Avenue from Bajo to Chacarita. Passing by Café Vicente -today Pellegrini at 900, Esquina Mariano Mores - which was in front of Germinal, I saw a poster requesting pianist to play international music, read at first sight and know how to transport. I went down, the patron took a test and accepted me at three pesos with fifty a day,” he says of his first tanguero approaches that made the Gardelian compositions frantically study with Alfredo Le Pera, an early root of the tardoromantic halo that impregnate the Puccini Argentinian.

Mariano Mores

The pianist begins to study with Luis Rubinstein and together they would compose “Gitana”, from a net Spanish cut, and already shows his precocious talent to adapt genres. At this academy he would meet his wife Myrna, “who was later my wife. She was studying with Professor Samuel Averbuj. He soon made a duet with his sister and when I added myself with the piano he became the Trio Mores. That's how I took their surname. The trio dissolved when I entered the Francisco Canaro orchestra,” he told the magazine La Maga in 1993. His entry into the renowned Pirincho Canaro orchestra, with two decades of international successes in tow, stimulates a period of fruitful compositional creativity in Mores, and enhances his extraordinary capabilities as a pianist and arranger “When he joined Canaro, he surely achieved what we usually lack to musicians: sharp commercial sense. Canaro had it, and Mores must have assimilated from him many movements that have to do with the ability to arouse commercial interest. Mariano took our tango to a fairly high level”, recalled his partner Emilio Balcarce.

“As a composer I started with Battistella (“Blue Cuartito”, composed for his girlfriend Myrna in a small room in Villa del Parque), then -Alberto- Vacarezza, then I met -José María- Contursi in Germinal, there played Haníbal Troilo. I came to congratulate him on the recent “Milonga de mis amores” he had done with Pedro Laurenz. I had an incredible success with women... Oh, bah! We were both successful. The first thing we did was “In this gray afternoon”, then a tango per year: “Gricel”, “Every time you remember me”, “Cristal”, “Your skin of jasmine””, listed Mores from a superlative follow of compositions that included “Adiós Pampa Mía” with Canaro, and “Copas, friends and kisses” with Enrique Cadícamo, and closes perhaps at his greatest creative peak, “Discépolo was charming, a divine bohemian. A singular man. It took three years to give me the lyrics to “One” Then we did “Cafetín de Buenos Aires”. While we were doing this tango, one day the actor Arturo de Córdoba accompanied us, I repeated the notes on the piano and Enrique was looking for the words. He was stuck, and suddenly, he saw the profile of Arthur, who had his nose like the boxers and was born that of “the yad against glass.” Contursi was more musical.  And -Homero- Manzi was the great poet of tango. Before he died, he said, “I'm going to go and I didn't do anything with you.” I had some kind of malambo tango. I started to prelude him and I said, “This is very difficult.” From bed he listened to the music and suddenly sang: “The sad and heartfelt voice of your song... ” and followed: “A teardrop tuya kisses the soul”, he continued very much in love with Nelly Omar,” said Mores, who in 1948 would leave the Canaro orchestra for his own group and the dream of a symphonic tango.


 To the Columbus, to the Columbus 

“I also composed with  Cátulo Castillo (who would present the musician in his solo debut in 1954, “young and thriving expression of Argentine art, and still American, renovator of tango” ) It was a serious thing, he made me conduct the National Symphony Orchestra. It was at the Cervantes Theater. General Perón came to see the show. He liked it a lot and there was the idea that this orchestra played in Europe with two conductors, one of classical music and one of popular music, that was going to be me. That was the first time a president came to see me. It was April 14, 1955, the revolution frustrated that project” he would recognize later the close of almost a decade, being Mores one of the main drivers of the tango boom of the forties . Because the elegance and color of his orchestras drive dance with events such as “Taquito militar”, premiered at the Teatro Colón in 1952, and which was voted in 2000 as the best milonga of the century, that is a composition of an unusual harmonic and rhythmic complexity.  

Mores had already entered the cinema as a galán with disparate luck, although it stands out “Corrientes... street of ensueños” (1949) by Román Viñoly Barreto basically because of the curiosity to listen to his voice.  Both radio and television, in which he would perform with Mirtha Legrand on channel 7, were expression channels that confirmed the musician's popularity despite the resistance of traditionalists who objected to his ampolous instrumental approaches . On a tour of the United States in the mid-eighties he conducted an orchestra of 100 musicians, “they will be personal concepts, and I insist, respect them. It happens that I have been lucky enough to collaborate making music for great shows and leave a background with my personality. I think that what I did liked those who have followed the course of my destiny. Those who don't like... won't listen to me,” he said in a 2005 interview. A similar path of incompression by the reactionaries always shared with the other great tango diffuser in the world after Gardel, Ástor Piazzolla.

Mariano Mores


 Mariano Mores, the tango showman  

Harassed by his approach to Peronism, the composer of “El firulete”, who would popularize Julio Sosa and execute Daniel Baremboim, undertakes from the end of the fifty endless tours, and is dedicated to the production of great theatrical shows.  Hugo del Carril emerged from there one of the biggest milestones of Buenos Aires musical theatre, “Buenas noches Buenos Aires”, premiered on October 18, 1963 at the Teatro Astral, and which lasted two seasons in a true Argentine musical fresco that included folklore, rock and roll and humor, with great performers, Beba Bidart, Virginia Luque, Susy Leiva and Juan Verdaguer, among others . He had a blockbuster film version the following year that cost Mores the censorship because he offered a private show for Perón in Madrid.

His Popular Lyrical Orchestra, a perfect cross between the music of all Argentines and cultured music at the height of Gershwin, and his Modern Rhythmic Sextet (with Ubaldo de Lío and Leopoldo Federico, to name), which incorporate electrical instruments and synthesizers, expand the sound universe of Mores as he travels the world and partipa la familia, with the  first entry of Nito Mores in 1964 (a move on several fronts of the show that derives in what would be the first reality of national tv, “La Familia Mores” on channel 9, 1968)  So important is his artistic stature international that when Claudio Segovia conceived his sweeping “ Argentine Tango”  on Broadway, in the early eighties, includes those already well known to the Americans, “Military Taquito”, “Uno” and “ Tanguera”, the latter instrumental fate of summit of the dance in any international production that appreciates adding the feeling danced porteño.   In 1987 the Organization of American States (OAS) awarded him his Scholar Musicians Award, recognition that Alberto Ginastera had at the time.

After Nito's young death in 1984, Mores is surrounded by affections in his musical projects and his daughter Silvia, his grandson Gabriel, and even Myrna, shared concerts with the composer.  Mores, author of almost   300 compositions, continues to spread tango in endless seasons that have their formal farewell in the Ástor Piazzolla hall of the Teatro Auditorium de Mar del Plata, on February 21, 2012, at age 94 — although his last concert was in Junín in 2013. He had previously edited his solo album twenty-two, “90 years and more... ,” with 44 unpublished pieces, at the height of his best works of the sixties with the Odeon label.   He died in Buenos Aires on April 13, 2016.

  I want to participate with youth, I need them and they need me. As was that “Gaucho Sentiment” by Francisco Canaro, who did it in tango time,  I want the youth of my country to muse these examples to put them in their music, rock or wherever they want, not to miss the essence of what our elders left,” said Mariano Mores in a television interview in the 1990s, which influenced musicians such as Fito Páez, Luis Alberto Spinetta and Andrés Calamaro, with whom he would compose “Play with fire” in 1999. A giant Marianito, how to forget Mores, because you Master, “as a school of all things/Ya de purrete you gave me among amazings/... Faith in my dreams/And a hope of love”


 Says Mariano Mores 

“ Tango is a feeling... it is born intertwined with hamlet, corner, lantern... and in its “miraculous mix” comes out to win the world; because we consider that great tangos are those that whistle the people, but that also transcend borders... “One”, “Goodbye Pampa mia”, “Military Taquito”, “Tanguera” and several others, have given me many satisfactions. These works have gone around the world... internationally famous tangos, but, formerly great “classics of the porteño whistle” that represent forever the Argentine soul and essence”, in Del Priore, O. Amuchástegui, I.  One hundred fundamental tangos . Buenos Aires: Aguilar 2008


 They say about Mariano Mores 

“ I've known Mariano since he started playing. When he did musical comedies, such as “The Other Me of Marcela”, or “Kiss Me Petronila”, where he started as an actor, in the '50s, I played piano with the orchestra he conducted. For me, Mores is the tango composer of the last fifty years. No more, no less. It is someone who must have forty, fifty works, and there is not a single lazy, they are all of the first level, and also very original, with a great personality. Successes such as “Gricel”, “Uno” or “Cafetín de Buenos Aires” show that he had a lot to do with the tango boom of '40 and '50. Saving the distances, Mariano is to tango what is a Cole Porter, or Jobim to Brazilian music,” said Atilio Stampone for Karina Micheletto at 2005.


 Mariano Mores sings “Cafetín de Buenos Aires” in   “Corrientes... street of dreams” (1949):  




Publication Date: 03/04/2021

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mariano-mores Mariano Mores, the master
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By: DelSal 19 February, 2021

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