Mario Rodriguez Arenas (1879 – 1949) was born in Buenos Aires. At the age of 24 he started his guitar studies with Angel del Valle and composition studies with Enrique Norera. After graduating, he started a concert career and a guitar education practice that became soon popular with the upper class in Buenos Aires. Additionally, he established the Guitar Academy “Tarrega”.
For the larger part, his compositions included arrangements of popular Argentine folk music that were published by the music shop Casa Nuñez. Rumor stated that he submitted one piece a week. Additionally, he made a number of arrangements of the classics by amongst others Chopin, Mendelssohn and Schumann, more or less in the manner of Francisco Tarrega.
He wrote a guitar methode titled Escuela de la Guitarra that contained lots of exercises and feats by Aguado, Sor and Carulli. He dedicated the method to his daughter Elba who became a famous guitarist in Argentine herself.
The compositions by Mario Rodriguez Arenas are based on traditional Argentine folk music for the main part. Lots of pieces are actually arrangements that were published by the music publisher Casa Nuñez.
The form Estilo that appears in many of his compositions is an Argentine song form. The addition Criollo is an ethnic indication from the time that Argentine was a Spanish colony: Peninsulares were “full-blooded” Spaniards, Criollos were of mixed blood. A quite racist difference, because the Peninsulares had more rights. Currently the term Criollo indicates the difference between city and countryside