Compact Discoveries®
a series of one-hour radio programs produced, written, hosted, and edited by Fred Flaxman
©2004 by Compact Discoveries, Inc.

Program 69
"Classical Tango"

MUSIC: Jacob Gade: excerpt from Jealousy Tango performed by Sefika Kutluer, flute with the Razumovsky Orchestra conducted by Peter Breiner [Naxos 8.557004, track 10] [under the following]

The music in the background is one of the most famous tangos ever written, yet you've probably never heard of its composer. His name was Jacob Gade and he was Danish. He lived from 1879 until 1963.

Although the tango originated in urban Argentina in the late 1800s, its infectious rhythm spread rapidly throughout the world and tangos have been written by composers in several countries, including Astor Piazzolla in Argentina, Ernesto Nazareth in Brazil, William Walton in England, Igor Stravinsky in Russia, and Leroy Anderson in the United States.

Welcome to Compact Discoveries. I'm your guide Fred Flaxman, and during the next hour I'm going to fill your ears with classical tangos. By that I mean not only tangos written by classical composers, but classical orchestral treatments of popular tango tunes. I think you'll have a great time.

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Gade was a violin virtuoso, a popular conductor and composer, and a pioneer in Danish film music. He was also a theatre manager and publisher. "Jealousy", his chief claim to international fame, received its Copenhagen premiere in 1925. The tango became famous around the world especially by virtue of Arthur Fiedler's recording with the Boston Pops Orchestra. Vera Bloom wrote a text for the melody in 1931, and this was sung by Vera Lynn during the Second World War.

Jealousy has been used in several Hollywood productions, and it has been recorded by Placido Domingo and Yehudi Menuhin. We hear the entire piece now as performed in an arrangement for flute and orchestra. The flutist is Sefika Kutluer. Peter Breiner conducts the Razumovsky Orchestra on a Naxos compact disc.

MUSIC: Jacob Gade: Jealousy Tango with the Razmumovsky Orchestra; Peter Breiner, conductor; Sefika Kutluer, flute soloist [Naxos 8.557004, track 10] [3:37]

Jealousy by the Danish composer, Jacob Gade. The flutist was Sefika Kutluer. Peter Breiner conducted the Razumovsky Orchestra on a Naxos compact disc called "Tango Goes Symphony."

I began this program about classical tangos with a Danish composer's take on this world-famous dance. But the tango originated in Argentina, so let's listen to a real Argentine-style tango next. This is by Astor Piazzolla, who was born in 1921 and died in 1992. After years of writing and playing in Buenos Aires bars, he decided to write more serious music, and began taking composition lessons from the early 20th Century's most influential music teacher, Nadia Boulanger in Paris.

Boulanger encouraged him to make use of Argentina's true national music -- the tango. He transformed and extended the popular dance by incorporating rhythms and harmonic dissonances derived from jazz and orchestral music. Let's listen to Piazzolla's Vuelvo al Sur -- Return to the South. It is from the film "Sur" by Fernando Solanas, and Solanas wrote the lyrics. It is sung by Roberto Goyeneche on a Milan compact disc.

MUSIC: Piazzolla: Vuelvo al Sur sung by Roberto Goyeneche [Milan/BMG 73138-35807-2, track 1] [3:45]

Astor Piazzolla's Vuelvo al Sur -- Return to the South. The lyrics were by Fernando Solanas. The vocalist was Roberto Goyeneche. This was a Milan/BMG recording.

Next, another three pieces by Piazzolla. They show him at his most romantic. The first is called Introducción al angel -- Introduction to the Angel. The second is called Adios Nonino. The third is Libertango.

MUSIC: Piazzolla: Introducción al angel; the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra [RCA Victor/BMG 09026-63233-2, track 1]

MUSIC: Piazzolla: Adios Nonino; Roberto Minezuk conducts the London Philharmonic Orchestra; Theodore Kerkezos, saxophonist [Naxos 8.557454, track 9]

MUSIC: Piazzolla: Libertango; Roberto Minezuk conducts the London Philharmonic Orchestra; Theodore Kerkezos, saxophonist [Naxos 8.557454, track 10]

Three classical tango pieces by Astor Piazzolla. The first was Introducción al ángel, performed by the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra on an RCA Victor Red Seal/BMG Classics compact disc. The second and third pieces were from Piazzolla's Tango Suite as adapted by Theodore Kerkezos for the saxophone. He was the soloist with the London Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Roberto Minczuk. Those pieces were called Adios Nonino and Libertango.

If you missed any of this information, let me remind you that Compact Discoveries has a website, and the transcript for each program is available there. Just go to, then click on Compact Discoveries Radio Programs, then scroll down the list to -- in this case -- program 69. Click on the title, "Classical Tangos," and the entire script will appear on your screen, including information on every CD used in the program.

From Piazzolla we go next to his friend José Bragato, who was born in Italy in 1915 but who moved with his family to Argentina when he was 13. Later, when the political situation in Argentina deteriorated, he went into exile in Brazil. He wrote a beautiful Tango for Cello Solo and String Orchestra called Graciala y Buenos Aires. We hear it now as performed by the Camerata Bariloche Chamber Orchestra of Argentina on a Dorian compact disc.

MUSIC: Bragato: Graciala y Buenos Aires -- Tango for Cello Solo and String Orchestra performed by the Camerata Bariloche Chamber Orchestra of Argentina [Dorian DOR-90201, track 10]

José Bragato's Graciala y Buenos Aires -- Tango for Cello Solo and String Orchestra. The Camerata Bariloche Chamber Orchestra of Argentina performed on a Dorian compact disc.
You are listening to Compact Discoveries. I'm your guide, Fred Flaxman, and in this hour we are exploring classical tangos.

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Next let's hear one more tango by an Argentine composer. This was written by Angel Villoldo, nicknamed "the father of the tango." He lived from 1861 until 1919, and this piece, El Choclo, is his main claim to fame. It became popular in the United States in 1952 as a song called Kiss of Fire.

MUSIC: Angel Villoldo: El Choclo with the Razmumovsky Orchestra; Peter Breiner, conductor; Sefika Kutluer, flute soloist [Naxos 8.557004, track 1] [3:37]

El Choclo by Angel Villoldo. Peter Breiner conducted the Razumovsky Orchestra. The flute soloist was Sefika Kutluer. This was from a Naxos CD titled "Tango Goes Symphony."

It is well known that you don't have to be Jewish to enjoy bagels. Well, you don't have to be Argentine to write tangos, much less to enjoy them. In the next part of this hour we'll listen to tangos by Spanish, Brazilian, Italian, English and American composers. The Spanish will be represented by Godowsky's version of the Tango, Op. 65, No. 2 by Isaac Albéniz.

Albéniz lived from 1860 until 1909. He made his first public appearance as a pianist in Barcelona at the tender age of four. Three years later he was refused admission to the Paris Conservatoire because... well, because he was a bit too young!

In 1872 he stowed away on a ship bound for the Americas. After a tour of the USA, where he supported himself by playing the piano, he went on further travels in Europe. Later he studied with Liszt in Budapest and with d'Indy and Dukas in Paris. In 1893 he settled in Paris, but ill health forced him to live in the south of France for most of the last decade of his life.

The pianist in this recording is Dmitry Paperno. It is from his album called "Through the Years," on a Cedille compact disc.

MUSIC: Albéniz/Godowsky: Tango, Op. 165, No. 2; Dmitry Paperno, piano [Cedille CDR 90000 074, track 12]

The Tango, Op. 165, No. 2 by Isaac Albéniz, as arranged by Leopold Godowsky. Dmitry Paperno was the pianist on a Cedille compact disc recording.

OK, that was a tango by a Spanish composer. Next let's hear one by a Brazilian composer: Ernesto Nazareth. Nazareth wrote only for the piano and he wrote lots of tangos, waltzes and other dances. I'm so crazy about his music that I am going to devote a complete hour to it some other time. But for now let's hear this lively arrangement of his Brejeiro, with flutist Paula Robison backed by a Brazilian band.

MUSIC: Nazareth: Brejeiro; Paula Robison, flute, with a Brazilian band [Omega OCD 3016, track 11]

Ernesto Nazareth's Brejeiro. Paula Robison was the flute soloist on an Omega compact disc.
You are listening to "Classical Tango" on Compact Discoveries. I'm your guide, Fred Flaxman.

We've heard tangos from Denmark, Argentina, Spain and Brazil. Our next stop is Italy, where we'll hear a short piano piece by Ruggero Leoncavallo, the composer best known for his opera Pagliacci. This piece is called Gitano-Tango. Marco Sollini plays the pianoforte in this Bongiovanni compact disc.

MUSIC: Leoncavallo: Gitano-Tango; Marco Sollini, pianoforte [Bongiovanni GB 5599-2, track 15]

Leoncavallo's Gitano-Tango. Marco Sollini was the soloist.

We've heard tangos from Argentina, Spain, Brazil and Italy, but those are all Romance-language countries. Can an Englishman write a tango? Well yes, sort of. William Walton's Façade contains a section that mixes two Latin dances, a tango with a pasodoble. It is called, guess what? Tango Pasodoble. And it's lots of fun!

MUSIC: Walton: Tango Pasodoble from Façade; The English Northern Philharmonia; David Lloyd-Jones, conductor [Hyperion CDH55099, track 9]

The Tango Pasodoble from Façade by William Walton. The English Northern Philharmonia was conducted by David Lloyd-Jones on a Hyperion CD.

We'll go out of this hour of classical tangos with the most famous American tango ever written: Leroy Anderson's Blue Tango. In this RCA Victor Red Seal compact disc, the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra is conducted by Leonard Slatkin.

MUSIC: Leroy Anderson: Blue Tango; St. Louis Symphony Orchestra; Leonard Slatkin, conducting [RCA Victor Red Seal 09026-68048-2, track 6] fades under:

I hope you've enjoyed listening to these "Classical Tangos" as much as I have. Please let me know! You can contact me, Fred Flaxman, through the Compact Discoveries website: The website has short descriptions and complete scripts for each Compact Discoveries program. There are also articles, a list of stations carrying the program, and a section for listener response. The website address again is

Compact Discoveries is a registered trademark and production of Compact Discoveries, Inc., and a presentation of WXEL-FM, West Palm Beach, Florida.

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