In looking back over 2016 I noticed that my comparison of the speed of the Australian singer Josè Carbo to classic tango singers is a little one-sided in effect. So to even the field I have a similar analysis of some songs by a modern Argentinian singer.
Marcelo Álvarez (27 February 1962-), born Córdoba, Argentina, is a lyric tenor singer with an international career in opera. In 2000 he released Marcelo Álvarez Sings Gardel through Sony Classical. Recorded 16-23 August 1999 in Buenos Aires, it is a selection of Carlos Gardel’s tangos, accompanied by Nestor Marconi on bandoneón and Pablo Ziegler on piano among others. Eleven of the thirteen tracks were written by Gardel, and Track 13 is a digitally-mastered duet of Álvarez singing Mi Buenos Aires Querido with a 1934 recording of Carlos Gardel.
Compared to Gardel’s recordings of the same songs from during and just before the ‘Golden Age’, these tracks are on average over a third longer, and even Track 13, where Álvarez sings with Gardel, is 17% longer. Álvarez must be singing at the same tempo as Gardel on that track, so this clarifies that some of the difference is in the arrangement. But that track is one of the closest to Gardel’s length, and listening to other pieces such as Tomo Y Obligo, which is 51% longer, makes clear that as well the tempo of Álvarez’ singing is overall much slower.
It’s not just Carbo that sings so slowly, it’s all modern operatically trained singers.