My mentor, Ben Molar, for decades refused to publicly present his work again “Los 14 con el Tango” for reasons that I do not have to debate, but at my constant insistence, he agreed to send me all the material on a personal level. He told me “send me a letter”. I did, whose copy attached, after which he acknowledged receipt of the same in a hugely exciting video for me, which also attached here to the respect of the tango community, official and unofficial. Ben was almost 100 years old and was bedridden, unfortunately, but with full and active lucidity.
Carlos “El Tordo” Maturano. President.
Ben Molar and his epic: 14 with the Tango
September, 2000, 34th anniversary of album 14 with Tango .
At the time, a news shook the musical environment. Ben Molarin an unprecedented effort, approached the tango fourteen poets and writers chosen among the most important men of letters that the country has.
These were the chosen ones: León Benarós , Jorge Luis Borges , Nicolás Cocaro, Cordova Iturburu, Florencio Escardó , Baldomero Fernández Moreno, Alberto Girri , Leopoldo Marechal , Carlos Mastronardi , Manuel Mujica Láinez, Conrado Nalé Roxlo , Ulises Petit de Murat , Ernesto Sabato and César Time .
Once obtained the letters of these important men, of the highest level of Argentine literature, sought among the most famous and popular tango musicians. They were: José Basso , Miguel Caló , Juan D’Arienzo , Alfredo De Angelis , Julio De Caro , Enrique Delfino , Lucio Demare , Osvaldo Manzi , Mariano Mores , Sebastián Piana , Astor Piazzolla , Armando Pontier , Hector Stamponi and Aníbal Troilo .
The idea was underway, they met periodically and adjusted, retouched, modified, until making the fourteen tangos, which meant the most important nucleation that exists in the world, of famous artists of literature approaching popular music.
As a complement and final touch of this magnificent undertaking, he also approached the proposal, fourteen plastic artists of the highest level of Argentine painting: Carlos Alonso, Héctor Basaldúa, Carlos Cañás, Santiago Cogorno, Zdravko Duckelic, Raquel Forner, Vicente Forte , Mario Darío Grandi, Julio Martínez Howard, Onofrio Pacenza, Leopoldo Presas, Luis Seoane, Raul Soldi and Carlos Torrallardona.
The result of this fruitful task were fourteen titles:
With these forty-two men, fourteen in each of these pillars: music, poetry and plastic, Ben Molar made an album in which goes a long-playing album, where we find fourteen themes and two pages containing the thought about the tango of all the artists, with their respective autographs.There are also the plates that reproduce each of the fourteen paintings that interpret each of the creations pictorially.
The different ranges of tango have been included on the album: the tango canción, the tango milonga, the tango salón, the avant-garde tango and the lunfardo tango, that is to say, many of the variants that our citizen music has. It is clear that also the focus of each composition varies according to the different styles of poets and musicians, which increases the richness of this cultural material.
With respect to the fourteen paintings that interpret the subjects pictorially, they were made by a group of plastics that also make a very complete sample of Argentine painting.
The first time the paintings were exhibited, it was used to expose them, fourteen stained-glass windows to the street, of fourteen prestigious commercial premises, in fourteen blocks of Santa Fe Avenue (one of the most elegant avenues of Buenos Aires) and then in seven stained glass windows. the street of an important Florida street trade.
The stained-glass windows of these shops were for a long time the fourteen paintings, so that they were seen and admired by a huge amount of public, who in their transit through these arteries did as if they were going through a large gallery of pictorial art, becoming in gigantic exhibitions. Later, the paintings were also exhibited in the small stage of the intellectual and artistic world: La Botica del Ángel, by Bergara Leumann.
The importance of the sample led our Foreign Ministry, through its Directorate of Cultural Relations, to sponsor exhibitions abroad, and this is how the fourteen paintings were exhibited, with the sponsorships of the Argentine Embassies of each one of the countries, in Israel, Greece, Spain, Italy, the United States and Japan. In each case, dissertations were made in relation to tango and the album was listened to.
It is noteworthy that the exhibition held in Madrid, Spain, was held within the framework of the seventh International Field Fair, and that on that occasion the Argentine pavilion won the first prize with medal of honor, and an estimated five million of people visited the fair. In Japan, the exhibition was made at Expo ’70, in the city of Osaka, where some twenty million people appreciated it.
The effort of Ben Molar to bring tango closer to the greats of the letters, of popular music and of the Argentine plastic arts, marked a course and was a triggering factor. The newspapers and magazines of the country and abroad echoed the concern and constantly devoted many pages to notes and commentaries on Los catorce con el tango . The same thing happened with radio and television programs. Many round tables organized by cultural and artistic entities, served as a framework for commenting on the splendid effort made, and in some of them it was said that with album 14 with tango we had managed to do for our citizen music, more than It had been done in the last ten years.
In several countries of the world the disc was published, that in addition received many prizes and distinctions.