An event ignored by film historians, though not by tango collectors, took place in 1959. RCA Victor began a series of reprints of the Julio De Caro recordings for the label. The series produced only 5 LPs intermittently published between 1959 and 1980 and not even half of the entire discography was reprinted.
But the articles in the back cover of the very first LP (and the other articles in the later reprints) offered key information that tried to give historical perspective to the recordings. The first LP also featured a version of the article in English, although it was not a translation.
This is the original article in English:
Some thirty-five years ago, back in the era of silent films, a brilliant young violinist joined a sextet to play tango "background" music in a small suburban movie theater. Little did Julio De Caro imagine at that moment, that he had placed his foot on the first rung of the ladder to fame and success. Tango music became the rage in all movie houses, completely ousting the erstwhile popular tinkling piano, and until the advent of the "talkies", five years later, the best tango bands in the country attained some of their greatest successes playing for movie audiences.
Julio De Caro, soon at the head of his own band, was quick to realize the tremendous potential value of these listening audiences. He broke away from simple, mechanical renderings and introduced arrangements and orchestrations, giving the tango harmony and expression. But he never forgot that the tango is essentially a dance, however high his flights of fancy, the basic beat is always present.
These were the golden years for Julio De Caro. Famous as a violinist, as a composer and as an orchestra leader, he reigned supreme in all three fields. The numerous recordings he made for RCA VICTOR during that period are today priceless heirlooms of an era in which, many aver, the tango was played and heard at its genuine best.
Here is the most important of the tangos that RCA Victor has never reprinted:
BUEN AMIGO, tango (Julio De Caro-Carlos Marambio Cat?n)
Victor 79553 (592)
December 5 , 1925
Hyperlink to [bUEN AMIGO|http://www.facebook.com/note_redirect.php?note_id=76678584946&h=d311a51bdb9b43c3868e8255c9c1d145&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.youtube.com%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DcpAA6dHa7NA]
In the silent era almost all of the most popular tango ensembles played for movie audiences (sharing the spotlight with jazz musicians as well). The sound film revolution put an end to this after the Carnival Dances of 1931 creating a big laboral crisis for the genre, its first one.
But in those days tangos were heard in all movie theaters throughout Argentina and the recording labels put the most popular orchestras under contract. Those discs are documents of a lost time.
The most popular of those orchestras was Julio De Caro's who made a impressive series of recordings for the Victor company from 1924 to 1928 when he was snatched by the Warner Bros. subsidiary, Brunswick.
RCA Victor began to reprint his output in 1959 and an a special article by Francisco Garc?a Jim?nez. The author was a tango lyricist, a close friend of De Caro and a not so good historian, although the following article is fine:
Los acontecimientos destinados a perdurar nacen, muchas veces, de un episodio sencillo. La an?cdota se cuenta f?cilmente: Al promediar el a?o 1924, en plena era de la pel?cula muda, un cine del barrio de Constituci?n introdujo una novedad de bulto. Reemplaz? al pianista que con dedos aut?matas pon?a m?sica ad libitum a las escenas de la pantalla, por un sexteto t?pico tocando tangos. Los espectadores se convirtieron as? en atentos oyentes; y aunque las m?s de las veces hubo evidente divorcio entre el ritmo de la acci?n de la tela y el de la orquesta, ?que importaba, si tambi?n el fervor del p?blico se distrajo de lo que miraba, por gustar lo que escuchaba? Y con su apoyo generoso en las taquillas, impuso y difundi? la novedad, que se traslad? de la barriada al centro, a la calle Lavalle, "la calle de los cines".
De aquel sexteto augural era primer viol?n Julio De Caro, que en plena juventud mostraba valimentos notables de ejecutante y compositor: ya pronunciados cuando apenas salido de la infancia hab?a tenido bautismo de fuego con Arolas. El joven violinista ilusionado, se traslada con la modalidad -dirigiendo un conjunto- porque presiente que en ella cabe la culminaci?n de la suya propia.
Conviene se?alar que en el lustro que corri? desde el citado a?o 1924 al de 1929 (en que se implant? el film parlante) las orquestas t?picas de mayor predicamento ganaron **** mejores aplausos actuando para las plateas cinematogr?ficas.
Desde el palco orquestal, en la comunidad que establece con el oyente este clima de penumbra, confidencia y comprensi?n, un ?nimo art?stico como el de Julio De Caro encuentra el campo propicio para que el tango enriquezca su expresi?n. Su orquesta introduce, pr?cticamente, el "arreglo" y la "orquestaci?n", con loable anhelo de elaborar lo que hasta hasta entonces era memorizada y escueta hebra tem?tica. Asoman las nociones de armon?a y contrapunto. Cada instrumento, a su turno, tiene un rol distinto, cuando no protag?nico. Tales perfeccionamientos del lenguaje musical de Buenos Aires, no significan que el inspirado director se aparte de lo genuino. Cuando el vuelo espiritado de las cuerdas sube al cielo de los so?adores, el comp?s "milonga" de la melod?a sigue atado al suelo de los bailarines. Porque si Julio De Caro ha encontrado en el palco orquestal del cine un alto para que escuchen su elocuencia renovadora, ning?n precio lo llevar?a al desencuentro con su entra?able vocaci?n de la coreograf?a tanguista, que ?l sigue ejerciendo desde el estrado del dancing p?blico y del sal?n privado.
Si alguien entre los cultores idealistas de la m?sica porte?a no olvid? que el tango es un baile, ?se fue el Julio De Caro de su ?poca de oro.
Al paso de treinta a?os, la certificaci?n de muchos hechos en el mundo del tango, acreditan hoy un magn?fico saldo favorable a la inspiraci?n interpretativa de Julio De Caro. Comprobamos que en realidad su estilo no abol?a una "guardia vieja" para darle el aval absoluto a una generaci?n "modernista". Hac?a escuela, eso s?, de una dignidad est?tica que tiene mucha vigencia por delante y se puede resumir en esta f?rmula: reclamarle sabor y color de ley a la "guardia vieja" y no deslumbrarse con ning?n "modernismo" de ?nfasis hueco.
La ?poca de oro de Julio De Caro es la que est? inscripta en las perdurables grabaciones que el famoso violinista, director y compositor porte?o, hizo entonces en los estudios de RCA VICTOR, y que empiezan a coleccionar estas placas fonogr?ficas de una serie extraordinaria. En la batalla art?stica y emocional que el tango est? ganando todos los d?as, entra en buena medida este aporte invalorable de nuestro disco, que pone en activa funci?n de actualidad las mejores realizaciones del pasado.
NOTAS POR FRANCISCO GARCIA JIMENEZ
Here is a rushed translation:
The events destined to last are born, many times, from a single incident. The story is simple: By the end of 1924, during the main years of the Silent Film, a Movie Theater in the neighborhood of Constitution introduced something different. It replaced a piano player that improvised music ad libitum to the action in the screen, with a six musician ensemble performing tangos. Audiences suddendly became sharp listeners and, although most of the time, there was an evident divorce between the action in the screen and the one of the orchestra... who cared? The audience enthusiasm was distracted from what they were looking with delight with what they were listening to. And with their generous support in the box office, it imposed and propelled the novelty from the neighborhoods to downtown, to Lavalle Street, "The movie theater street".
From that landmark sextet the first violin player was Julio De Caro, still very young but already displaying autehentic talent as performer and composer: when he was leaving childhood behind he had already had a debut with Eduardo Arolas. The young violin player, filled with enthusiasm, conducted an ensemble with a feeling that with it he was going to accomplish his dreams.
It is important to mention that in the five years that lasted from 1924 to 1929 (when talkies were imposed) the most popular tango orchestras won their best applauses performing for movie audiences.
From the orchestra pit, in the rapport established with the audience in that dark environment of trust and comprehension, the artistic temperament of Julio De Caro found the perfect field to enrich tango as music. His orchestra almost introduced orchestrations in order to replace the improvisations so common at that time. Notions of armony and counterpoint emerge. Each instrument, at their time, had a different part if not the starring one. Those improvements of the Buenos Aires musical language didn't mean that the inspired director moved away from the genuine thing. When the spirited sound of the strings jump to the heaven of the dreamers, the melody is still attached to the floor of the dancers. Because if Julio De Caro had found in the orchestra pit of the movie theater a place where his renewal eloquence was heard, he didn't move away from the tango coreography that he also continued in public dancings and private halls.
If there was somebody among the idealist of the Buenos Aires music that never forgot that tango is a dance, that was the Julio De Caro of his golden age.
Thirty years later, many events in the History of Tango seal a favorable balance towards Julio De Caro inspiration. We can check that his stile didn't abolish an old guard in order to replace it with a modern generation. He was teaching a lesson, however, of aesthetic dignity that had a long life along that can be resumed in this formula: demanding taste and color to the "old guard" not falling into an empty "modernism".
The golden age of Julio De Caro has been documented in the unforgettable recordings that the famous violin player, conductor and Bueno Aires composer made then at the RCA Victor studios, which this LP begins to collect from an extraordinary series. In the artistic and emotional battle that the tango is wining every day, here is our contribution, that made a contemporary thing of the best recordings of the past.
FRANCISCO GARCIA JIMENEZ
Attached here is the original cover from that RCA Victor LP (The building behind De Caro is the Argentine National Congress)
One of the tangos featured in that first compilation was EL MONITO, in its second recording with the electric system. The original version was done in the acoustic system back in 1925 and, along a copy of the original label of that disc, can be heard following the link listed below.
EL MONITO, tango (Julio De Caro-Carlos Marambio Cat?n)
JULIO DE CARO Y SU ORQUESTA TIPICA
Victor 79569 (627)
July 23, 1925
Hyperlink to [EL MONITO|http://www.facebook.com/note_redirect.php?note_id=76681049946&h=33856d281f7affb95acd5a0a44e9a2d6&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.youtube.com%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DeWkaFxbZ-J0]