Alfredo De Angelis is mostly known for his 1940s valses which are a staple at traditional milongas. Beyond that, he's often considered inferior to his contemporaries, presumably because he was busy making money producing populist, danceable music and felt no need to push boundaries.
Sympathies of present-age dancers and DJs come and go, but somehow I don't feel this judgment is likely to change. And if you listen to his tangos with Julio Martel, for instance, I wouldn't blame you if you were to agree. They feel bleak and depressing and there's no catharsis to be had.
I emptied a ronda one time with a De Angelis/Martel tanda, and even if you could do this well with better timing, I'd still consider his 1940s tangos a high-risk/uncertain-reward type of deal.
In my view, De Angelis rose musically speaking as the Golden Era came to an end. Today, I present an admittedly "darker" vocal tanda of four tangos that he recorded with Oscar Larroca.
1) En tus brazos (1954, G minor)
2) Volvamos a empezar (1953, C minor)
3) Cómo nos cambia la vida (1953, G minor)
4) Pasional (1951, C minor)
The first three tracks run at about 63 BPM while the closer ups the clock a little at 65 BPM. Harmonically speaking, this tanda forms a compelling pattern of switching between C and G keys, which in my opinion adds to its urgency.
At first, I was unsure about using Pasional at all. Pugliese's Pasional is towering above De Angelis's take menacingly. That said, it's also about context, and this isn't a Pugliese tanda. And unlike Pugliese, the beats are strictly regular, adding to its danceability.
Would I much rather listen to Pugliese's Pasional? No doubt. Here, I'm hoping that the comparatively understated version by De Angelis still provides a convincing ending.
We get a compelling mix of strong beats and expressive lyricism that we can best experience when the night has progressed and we're ready for its energy. It asks a lot from the dancers, so placing this after a more moderate tanda and perhaps before valses might be a good option.
I've danced to a few combinations of this tanda in Prague, and the floor was always full.
Later works by De Angelis and Godoy might be too far off the beaten path, but this is from the early 1950s and should be acceptable even in conservative communities.
photo credit by Yigit ARISOY