A-ha! I can now give you links to (some) things I'm listening to. You might not have to download the Spotify player for this link to work - but if you do, it seems pretty reliable, and makes talking about music on the internet easier. You can stream it:
Juan D'Arienzo – Mucho MuchoThe above link gives you a high quality stream. There's a version on YouTube with some meaningless graphics, and you can get it on iTunes. It doesn't sound great on my computer speakers - if you have quality earphones you'll probably want to use them to hear the bass. I can't hear it at all if I don't plug mine in, and it's very important.
It comes on this excellent-value 10-cd set El Tango. Some of the recordings are messed up - there's one D'Arienzo milonga which seems to play at half speed, and there's something wrong with all of the Di Sarli. But it's full of interest.
I listened to this one a couple of times and absolutely loved it - most of all because it reminds me of someone I know. In fact, when I played it to my regular practice partner he thought of the same person.
So why had I never heard it played? As a piece of music I think it's brilliant.
I can only make out some of the words, and as usual I've failed to find them online. But I think it's about that sensation of being in love for five minutes while you dance, forgetting everything else, and the music seems to be about the sensations of being in love generally.
The violins have these butterflies of melody (at the start, and at 00:45)- the piano catches its breath a few times, skips a beat and goes crazy (01:05-01:15) - the bandoneones enclose you in a swirling, disorienting, obsessed wall of sound, especially when the voice comes in after 01:40. What a dark voice (apparently Armando Laborde, recording dated 1953). The sung melody has a little change at 02:30 like a plea. It's telling you to dance along the edge of chaos.
Oops. That doesn't sound like a great idea.
D'Arienzo in general makes some people feel a bit seasick, and this is a very marked example.You might listen to this and feel alarmed and queasy rather than excited - it could go either way.
And, on a few more repetitions, I decided that I just don't think it's a good choice for social dancing. At least, not when the voice comes in and pushes and pulls at the rhythm. It's great as art-song, but both melody and rhythm are really strong, and whatever you do, you're going to be fighting one of them. That's not a good thing on a social dancefloor. There's this beat, this melody, and the swirling walls of sensation, shutting out reality, the sense of risk and disorientation - I can just see this causing mayhem, purely by people dancing to it in ways that make perfect musical sense. It might be rather good for an exciting stage performance, I'm not sure, but when I play this and try to imagine a social dance floor as a whole, it just doesn't work for me. You may disagree, and another practice partner said he had heard it played, just not anywhere I went.
But I love it for listening.