Tangos with melodies from classical music

This post simply presents a fun listening exercise, where a few of the tangos that are using melodies from the classical repertoire can be compared to how they are usually played in a concert hall.


Let’s start off with Edgardo Donato’s La Melodía Del Corazón:

Compare the above to Frédéric Chopin’s organically flowing Étude Op. 10, No 3: Tristesse, as performed by Evgeny Kissin:

Wedding march

Several orchestras have recorded the tango Marcha Nupcial. Here’s Francisco Canaro:

And Biagi:

And, of course, the original Wedding march from A Midsummer Night’s Dream by Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy, here conducted by Kurt Masur:

Hungarian dance

Enrique Rodríguez played some nice foxtrots, e.g. this Danza Húngara No. 5:

And Claudio Abbado’s classical version of Johannes Brahms’ Hungarian dance no. 5 will show you why it’s easier to dance to an adaptation by a tango orchestra, rather than the original composition:

Pearl fishers

Florindo Sassone’s Los Pescadores De Perlas is played a lot in European tango events these days:

The original tenor aria “Je crois entendre encore” is from from Georges Bizet’s opera Les pêcheurs de perles. I recommend first listening to Jussi Björling’s flawless rendering:

And then let your heart melt to Alfredo Kraus’ extraordinary stage performance of the same aria:

For anyone accustomed to the classical versions, the corresponding tango versions may sound a bit square and insensitive in comparison. But this might be a necessary adaptation, in order to make the tunes danceable. And the interesting thing is that very often you tend to like the version of a song that you heard first better, so if you e.g. already heard some of the above at milongas, it is not unlikely that you’ll prefer the tango version not just for dancing, but also for listening. Either way, I hope you enjoy all of this amazing music!