“La Cumparsita” by Carlos Di Sarli y su Orquesta Típica, 1942.

Confiteria La Giralda, where La Cumparsita was premiered in 1916.

The Tango of all Tangos

Music: Gerardo Matos Rodríguez.

In April 19, 1916, in Montevideo, Roberto Firpo premiered what would become the tango of all tangos, “La Cumparsita”, by Gerardo Hernán Matos Rodríguez, which at that time was a two-part song.

Firpo, in the style of the “Guardia Vieja”, composed the third.

Some time later he would regret not having signed it jointly: the rights of “La Cumparsita” reported millions!

With respect to this fundamental tango, Firpo recalled: “In 1916 I was at “Confiteria La Giralda” in Montevideo, when one day a man arrived accompanied by about fifteen boys – all students – to tell me that they had a humble carnival march, and wanted me to take a look and fix it because they thought there was a tango.

They wanted it for that night, because it was needed for a boy named Matos Rodríguez.

In the score, in two by four, appeared a little of the first part and in the second part there was nothing.

I got a piano and I remembered two tangos of mine composed in 1906 that had not had any success: “La Gaucha Manuela” and “Curda Completa”, and I put a little of each one.

At night I played it with Bachicha Deambroggio and Tito Roccatagliatta.

It was an apotheosis, and everybody celebrated Matos Rodríguez that night”.

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