Organito de la tarde (tango, 1923)

Organito de la tarde” is a tango composed by Catúlo Castillo in 1923 with the lyrics of his father Jose González Castillo.

In 1924 it was presented in the first contest organized by Max Glucksmann at the cine-teatro Gran Splendid.  At that moment only the music was eligible for the contest. Each piece was performed by Roberto Firpo and voted by the public in various eliminatory rounds. [2] Apparently this public contest was not particularly objective as there is evidence that Canaro, Lomuto and Gonzalez Castillo were competing to buy entries in order to influence the vote. [1] In anycase Catúlo Castillo won the third place with Organito de la tarde” after “Sentimiento gaucho” by Francisco Canaro and Rafael Canaro and “Pa’ que te acordes” by Francisco Lomuto.

One year later in 1925, Organito de la tarde” was premiered in Teatro San Matín by Azucena Maizani who recorded it soon after with the orchestra of Francisco Canaro. It was featured in a 1925 silent movie of the same name by José Agustín Ferreyra. Carlos Gardel also recorded it in his early years with Odeon and Carlos Di Sali produced 3 instrumental versions in 1942, 1952 and 1954. Other versions include those of Rodolfo Biagi (1956) and Roberto Ruffino (1959).

Organito de la tarde” is only one of many tango celebrating the portable instrument which “filled the neighborhood with musical notes”, allowing tango to enter every household through the windows at the turn of the 20th century.

Al paso tardo de un pobre viejo
puebla de notas el arrabal,
con un concierto de vidrios rotos,
el organito crepuscular.

The organito became obsolete in the 1920’s as recording technologies evolved and became increasingly accessible.


[1] Del Priore, Oscar, and Irene Amachástegui. Cien tangos fundamentales. Buenos Aires: Aguilar, 1998. Print.

[2] Concursos de Max Gluksmann. Wikipedia. Online.

[3] Tálice, Roberto A. “Evocación y ubicación de José Gonzalez Castillo”. In La historia del tango: Los poets (I). Buenos Aires: Corregidor, 1977.

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