Tribute to Horacio Salgan, What It Was Like to Get Into His Mind

“There is so much to learn from Horacio Salgan, it hasn’t been squeezed out yet. If I had to describe him as a pianist, I think is one of the most solid of tango. And we had wonderful pianists. It’s time to talk about the total anthem: pianists, arrangers and even composers of some songs”, said San Francisco pianist Pablo Astigaribia about the presentation of his new album.

Horacio Salgan Piano Transcription This is more than a record. there is The hard work of research behind the tapes Salagan had sung thirty years earlier at the “Festival of Pianos on the Lake Stage”, a cycle of solo piano concerts in the lakes of Palermo, in which Cuchi Leguizamon, Horacio Larumbe, El Mono Fontana and Baby Lopez Furesta.

It was so wonderful to hear Salgan playing the tango repertoire alone on the piano. Mono Fontana decided to record the vocals through his own. As far as is known, is the only single record, as Salgan performed with Ubaldo de Leo or with Quinteto Real. The precious material fell into the hands of Astigaribia and thus the project was born, which consists of a book with transcriptions of the album’s themes.

Pablo Astigaribia Did A Great Deal Of Research To Edit &Quot;Horacio Salgán Piano Transcription&Quot;.  Photo Courtesy Daniel Arkakirak

Pablo Astigaribia did a great deal of research to edit “Horacio Salgán Piano Transcription”. Photo courtesy Daniel Arkakirak

a record of appreciation

-How did Horacio Salgan come into your life? Because unfortunately he is not a musician of great vogue, less so for people of your generation, who are born in the eighties.

One day someone gave me a CD of Horacio Salgan for my birthday. I didn’t even know who he was, I put on the first song and said: “Oh well! If tango like this, i wanna sound like this“. That was the moment I realized I could dedicate myself to tango. And, since then, that’s what I’ve done. I owe it to Salagan’s music. Before that, I didn’t give the ball to tango.” I used to like classical music, jazz, with Herbie Hancock, dense and heavy harmonies. Piazzola enjoyed listening to it more, not to mention it, he didn’t vibrate with it.

Horacio Salgan, One Of The Most Important Tango Pianists.  Photo: Rafael Calvino

Horacio Salgan, one of the most important tango pianists. Photo: Rafael Calvino

– What was the theme of that Salgan album that impressed you so much?

– arrangement Dizzinessby Salagan-De Leo. It starts with a piano intro and you don’t know if it’s Salgan, Bill Evans… I felt very close hearing that type of tango.

– And you didn’t run to get the score?

Yes, I got desperate! I went to SADAIC, with the impudence of the teens, to ask where I could buy accessories, and they laughed a lot. scores were not available. There I decided to study until I understood and saw how I could translate it. In between, a few points came to me, I joined the Emilio Balcars Tango School Orchestra and started working with Viktor Lavalen. I started off side by side with people who really know tango.

The Concert On Which Pablo Astigaribia Was Based For His Album Was Recorded By Mono Fontana In A Non-Professional Manner So That He Could Hear It.  Photo Courtesy Daniel Arkakirak

The concert on which Pablo Astigaribia was based for his album was recorded by Mono Fontana in a non-professional manner so that he could hear it. Photo courtesy Daniel Arkakirak

-Do you have any hypothesis as to why Salgan didn’t write his arrangement and has so few marks?

-The official version I heard is that He had such a prodigious memory that he did not write piano parts and always played them the same way.. In fact, I haven’t seen a single video of Salgan with the score on the front, he played everything from memory.

-Do you think Salgan’s style and contributions have been understood and assimilated?

– That’s a very strong point. When I came to live in the United States, I set foot in New York and started working with Tango. Everyone knew Piazzola and I was tired of playing him. Whenever Horacio Salgan mentioned it, no one knew who he was. it drives me crazy. I tried to think why this could happen. On a musical level, frankly I’m not going to discuss Piazzola’s great talent as stupid, but there’s not much for me to envy Piazzola’s music in Salgan’s music.

i think salgan is a thousand percent tango and is much less discussed than in Piazzola, as the structure of tango exists, but the boundaries are all extended and at times in directions where many styles have already gone.

Cover Of The Album By Pablo Astigaribia, &Quot;Horacio Salgán Piano Transcription&Quot;.

Cover of the album by Pablo Astigaribia, “Horacio Salgán Piano Transcription”.

-Popular music has translated issues, such as phrasing, aspects that are closely related to his role as a performer in Salagan’s music. How was the process of trying to write Salgan’s magic on paper?

The material I worked with isn’t a professional recording, it’s quite elementary, because the purpose was just to record, and Mono did it his way because he wanted to listen to that concert again. So when I was transliterating I found passages that were not entirely clear. I looked for other versions of Salgán-de Leo where they played the same theme to see if the harmonies were more or less the same and if I could find the bit I didn’t understand.

-Did you get separate records for all the songs on the album?

-No. There are so many songs, at least three, that I couldn’t find a score, a version, a recorded version, or anything. He only played them in this concert from ’91 and never again: Two Songs from Mono Villegas (simonet You Horacio and Adolfo) You tango for your hands, one thing, I got a point, but it has nothing to do with what he played and he didn’t record it – at least I didn’t get it – neither with De Leo nor with Royal Quintet and Nor with the orchestra. Providing this score is a humble contribution to the continuation of Horacio’s music.

You did the puzzle.

-Yes. Don’t write literally what they played, but try to get at the basic idea of ​​the arrangement. So I turned to other versions to check. The album he recorded with De Leo in 1991 was very useful to me, as it has many themes in common with this live recording. Then I found a video that Melopy recorded in 2001. independent clubFor example, it is on all three records: singles, duets, and duets ten years later. Salagan plays exactly the same. He hasn’t changed a single note in ten years.. It was very strange to see all this in the course of examining these transcripts.

Pablo Astigaribia Says That Horacio Salgán Was Not Used To Writing Scores For His Songs Because He Had A Prodigious Memory And Always Made The Same Arrangements.  Photo Courtesy Daniel Arkakirak

Pablo Astigaribia says that Horacio Salgán was not used to writing scores for his songs because he had a prodigious memory and always made the same arrangements. Photo courtesy Daniel Arkakirak

-It was like going inside Salgan’s head, in the process of his musical and aesthetic decisions.

– Yes absolutely. I put it in the book notes. When you go for transliteration you have two possible ways: The easiest is to write down the note by noting what it sounds like, but it tends to be superficial. I think of transcription as the opposite process of interpretation – where you start with something written, do a subjective reading and this is reflected in your interpretation – because what I did is start with that subjective reading and it Tries to find out what the score was. Its cornerstone. It’s a much more complicated task than simply transcribing what it sounds like. When I started, transliterated, revised, it took me, more or less, a year and a half.

-Salgan’s selection for his solo piano concerto, in addition to his links with tradition (De Caro and Bardi), features two arrangements of Enrique Villegas’ songs. What do you know about that link?

El Chucchi Leguizamón, Salagan and Enrique Villegas were friends—in the singing recordings, Salagan is heard talking a lot about Mono Villegas—and They used to gather to play together. What would have happened! We are talking about the piano clergy of Argentina. Adolfo Abalos was another who used to be at those meetings. Very interesting the union between all of them.

– For what reason were you able to record the tape?

It was a need that my students were born with. The original recording could not be marketed as it is not official, so the idea was diverted to the publication of a book with an audio reference. It was never my idea to do too many concerts playing Horacio Salgan’s music. Not because it’s not wonderful, because it is, but It was very difficult to put myself in the place of someone who was a great inspiration In my life.


Horacio Salgan Piano Transcription

the piano: Pablo Astigaribia

repertoire: kachila (Eduardo Arolas), boedo (Julio de Caro), eco tango (Horacio Salgan), Don Agustin Burdick (Horacio Salgan), independent club (Augustin Bardi), tango for your hands (Horacio Salgan), Horacio and Adolfo (Enrique Villegas), simonet (Enrique Villegas), that country tango (Horacio Salgan) and gone (Jose Dames). bonus track: there can be no end (Horacio Salgan) and waltz motif (Horacio Salgan).


Official Presentation: Friday, July 30 at 9 p.m., free access, via