Ernesto Lecuona

Biography

Born: August 6, 1895; Guanabacoa   Died: November 29, 1963; St. Cruz de Tenerife, Canary Islands  
Ernesto Lecuona has often been hailed as the greatest composer from Cuba. A sort of Latin Gershwin, he was both versatile and prolific, writing over 400 songs, 170-odd piano pieces, 37 orchestral works, 11 film scores, and numerous zarzuelas, ballets, and an opera. He wrote in an approachable, often popular style, especially in his songs, and exhibited Latin and Afro-Cuban elements in his music. In some of his later compositions, he wrote in a Read more more serious, somewhat neo-Classical style. Lecuona was born in Guanabacoa, Cuba, a suburb of Havana. All five children in the Lecuona family were musically gifted, four as pianists and one son as a violinist. Young Ernesto was given piano lessons by his older sister, Ernestina. He gave a public recital at the age of five and was in every respect a child prodigy: he was composing at the age of 11 and went on to graduate from Havana's National Conservatory -- where he studied piano and composition -- before his 17th birthday. He traveled to New York City for his American debut the following year, giving a well-received concert at Aeolian Hall. He then decided on further musical studies, taking instruction from Joaquin Nin, and in France, from Maurice Ravel. In the 1920s and 1930s, Lecuona wrote a number of popular songs and piano pieces. In the latter genre, his Malagueña, from his Andalucía Suite for piano (1927), became an instant hit and is still probably the composer's most famous piece, whether in its original piano form, its song version, or in its countless other instrumental arrangements. Lecuona also formed a dance band called Orquesta Cubana, which mainly performed arrangements of popular Cuban dance pieces and songs. The group quickly became well known and made many tours of the United States, Europe, and South America. Ironically, Lecuona was not the band's pianist: that role was left to Armando Fichin Oréfiche, a skilled artist and composer in his own right who also did some of the group's musical arrangements. Beginning in 1931, Lecuona began writing film scores, turning out three that year alone: Under Cuban Skies, Free Soul, and Susana Lenox, all for MGM. He also wrote many zarzuelas during this period, including Rosa la china (1932). In 1934, following a lengthy bout of pneumonia, Lecuona withdrew from the band on the advice of doctors. The group was thereafter known as the Lecuona Cuban Boys and still made many numerous and successful tours. Lecuona continued to compose and perform, of course, producing a variety of works that included more film scores, especially during the war years. He received an Academy Award nomination for Best Song in the 1942 Warner Bros. film Always in My Heart. One of his more popular postwar film efforts was for the 1947 movie Carnival in Costa Rica. After the war, Lecuona seldom performed as a pianist, though he remained active in composition. He returned to Cuba after living for a long period in New York City. He left his homeland again, however, in 1960 following the Communist takeover, determined not to return until the Castro regime was ousted. He established homes in New York City and Florida. Among his many accomplishments was the co-founding (with composer Gonzalo Roig) of the Havana Symphony Orchestra. Lecuona was one of the few composers who was successful in several genres, arguably becoming the quintessential crossover musician long before the term existed. Read less
Browse 1-25 of 120 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    I Don't Like Classical Music, But I Kinda Like This!
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 74698 Release Date: 06/17/2014   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Richard Strauss,  Carl Orff,  Richard Wagner,  Antonio Vivaldi  ... 
    Performer:  Nigel Woodhouse,  Paul Meyer,  Kolja Blacher,  Eric Le Sage  ... 
    Conductor:  Fritz Reiner,  Eduardo Mata,  Gustav Kuhn,  Mark Stephenson  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chicago Symphony Orchestra,  London Symphony Orchestra,  London Symphony Chorus  ... 
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  • 2.
    The Golden Age Of Light Music: Light And Latin
    Label: Guild   Catalog: 5213 Release Date: 06/10/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ernesto Lecuona,  Ary Barroso,  Jimmy McHugh,  Zequinha de Abreu  ... 
    Conductor:  Werner Muller,  Percy Faith,  Paul Weston,  Carmen Dragon  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Clebanoff Strings
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  • 3.
    Voices of Firestone DVD 4-Pack - Bjorling, Sutherland, Merrill, Stevens
    Label: Kultur Video   Catalog: 4938 Release Date: 04/07/2014   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Richard Rodgers,  Georges Bizet,  Rudolf Friml,  Robert Schumann  ... 
    Performer:  Risë Stevens,  Jussi Björling,  Anne-Lisa Björling,  Dame Joan Sutherland  ... 
    Conductor:  Richard Bonynge,  Howard Barlow
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Voice of Firestone Orchestra
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  • 4.
    Bartlett & Robertson: Selected Recordings 1927-1947
    Label: Apr   Catalog: 6012 Release Date: 01/14/2014   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Ethel Bartlett,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Robert Schumann,  Camille Saint-Saëns  ... 
    Performer:  Rae Robertson,  Ethel Bartlett
    Conductor:  Sir John Barbirolli
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  • 5.
    Come Dance With Me
    Label: Meridian Records   Catalog: 84621 Release Date: 01/14/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Alberto Ginastera,  Joaquin Turina,  Olivier Messiaen,  Ernesto Lecuona  ... 
    Performer:  Katarzyna Musial
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  • 6.
    A Spanish Album - Soler, Falla, Turina, Lecuona / Rodriguez
    Label: Elan Recordings   Catalog: 2206 Release Date: 07/16/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ernesto Lecuona,  Antonio Soler,  Joaquin Turina,  Manuel de Falla
    Performer:  Santiago Rodriguez
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  • 7.
    Ernesto Lecuona: Cuba Espana
    Label: Nimbus   Catalog: 6214 Release Date: 05/14/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ernesto Lecuona
    Performer:  Clara Rodriguez
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  • 8.
    L'Excellence Se Fete - A Celebration of Excellence
    Label: Analekta   Catalog: 297257 Release Date: 04/09/2013   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  André Mathieu,  Antonín Dvorák,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Antonio Vivaldi  ... 
    Performer:  Alain Lefèvre,  Marie-Nicole Lemieux,  Louise-Andrée Baril,  Valerie Milot  ... 
    Conductor:  Yoav Talmi,  Bruno Weil,  Jeanne Lamon,  Jean-Philippe Tremblay  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Alcan String Quartet,  Tafelmusik,  La Pieta  ... 
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  • 9.
    Lecuona: Piano Music, Songs / Tirino, Farley
    Label: Bis   Catalog: 1854 Release Date: 03/26/2013   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Ernesto Lecuona
    Performer:  Thomas Tirino,  Elizabeth Henreckson-Farnum,  Katie Geissinger,  Alexandra Montano  ... 
    Conductor:  Michael Bartos
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Polish Radio Symphony Orchestra,  Silesian Philharmonic Chorus
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  • 10.
    Le Maestro De La Trompette
    Label: Indesens   Catalog: 15 Release Date: 02/12/2013   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  George Gershwin,  Ernesto Lecuona,  Michael Carr,  Charles Trenet  ... 
    Performer:  Maurice André
    Conductor:  J. Faustin,  Jacques Denjean
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  • 11.
    Harp Dances / Floraleda Sacchi
    Label: Amadeus Arte   Catalog: 4763856 Release Date: 12/11/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Carlos Salzedo,  Enrique Granados,  Ernesto Lecuona,  Isaac Albeniz  ... 
    Performer:  Floraleda Sacchi
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  • 12.
    Forever Domingo
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001784502 Release Date: 11/19/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Agustín Lara,  Nicholas Brodszky,  Salvatore Cardillo,  Ernesto Lecuona  ... 
    Performer:  Placido Domingo,  Sherrill Milnes,  Piero Cappuccilli,  Nicolai Ghiaurov  ... 
    Conductor:  Marcel Peeters,  Karl-Heinz Loges,  Herbert von Karajan,  Giuseppe Sinopoli  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  Vienna State Opera Chorus,  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
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  • 13.
    Always In My Heart: The Songs Of Ernesto Lecuona / Placido Domingo
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 195846 Release Date: 07/31/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ernesto Lecuona
    Performer:  Placido Domingo
    Conductor:  Lee Holdridge
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 14.
    World Premieres
    Label: Enharmonic Records   Catalog: 20051 Release Date: 07/10/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  David DeBoor Canfield,  Dennis Meckler,  Paul Hartin,  James Underwood  ... 
    Conductor:  Christopher Ludwa,  Gerry Amato
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  • 15.
    Jorge Luis Prats - Live In Zaragoza
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001593702 Release Date: 04/03/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Enrique Granados,  Heitor Villa-Lobos,  Carlos Fariñas,  Ignacio Cervantes  ... 
    Performer:  Jorge Luis Prats
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  • 16.
    Hot Hot Hot / Denver Brass
    Label: Klavier Records   Catalog: 77040 Release Date: 01/31/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Hugo Montenegro,  Astor Piazzolla,  Arturo Márquez,  Dizzy Gillespie  ... 
    Performer:  Al Hood,  Ben Jansen,  Dawn Kramer
    Conductor:  Lowell E. Graham
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Denver Brass
    CD: $17.99
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  • 17.
    In 'n' Out: Every Moment Has Its Music
    Label: Analekta   Catalog: 96102 Release Date: 01/31/2012   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Niccolò Paganini,  Felix Mendelssohn,  Ernesto Lecuona,  Franz Joseph Haydn  ... 
    Performer:  Angèle Dubeau,  Alvaro Pierri,  Elizabeth Dolin,  Bernadene Blaha  ... 
    Conductor:  Lorraine Desmarais,  Kent Nagano,  Joseph Rescigno
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Gryphon Trio,  Montreal Jazz Club,  Duo Gaulin-Riverin  ... 
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  • 18.
    Pasion / Roberto Alagna
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001620702 Release Date: 12/06/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  José Alfredo Jimenez,  Agustín Lara,  Osvaldo Farres,  Carlos Eleta Almaran  ... 
    Performer:  Laurent Vernerey,  Celso Duarte,  Roberto Alagna,  Nicolas Giraud  ... 
    Conductor:  Yvan Cassar
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Paris Symphonic Orchestra
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  • 19.
    Pasion / Roberto Alagna
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001620702 Release Date: 11/15/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Agustín Lara,  Osvaldo Farres,  Carlos Eleta Almaran,  Gerardo Matos Rodríguez  ... 
    Performer:  Nicolas Giraud,  Nicolas Montazaud,  Stephane Chausse,  Roberto Alagna  ... 
    Conductor:  Yvan Cassar
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  • 20.
    Jorge Bolet: His Earliest Recordings
    Label: Apr (Appian)   Catalog: 6009 Release Date: 11/08/2011   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Isaac Albeniz,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Frédéric Chopin,  Manuel de Falla  ... 
    Performer:  Jorge Bolet
    Conductor:  Thor Johnson
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra
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  • 21.
    Fiesta / Carmen Dragon, Hollywood Bowl SO
    Label: Emi Studio   Catalog: 63734 Release Date: 10/17/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Jules Massenet,  Georges Bizet,  Sebastián de Iradier,  Mikhail Glinka  ... 
    Conductor:  Carmen Dragon
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Hollywood Bowl Symphony Orchestra
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  • 22.
    Delicias - Spanish Delights For Piano Duo / Goldstone & Clemmow
    Label: Divine Art   Catalog: 25101 Release Date: 10/11/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Emmanuel Chabrier,  Enrique Granados,  Ernesto Lecuona,  Joaquin Rodrigo  ... 
    Performer:  Anthony Goldstone,  Caroline Clemmow
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  • 23.
    Label: Begui Records   Catalog: 2148 Release Date: 09/13/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ernesto Lecuona,  Enrique Chía,  Pedro Jr. Junco,  Beny Moré  ... 
    Performer:  Enrique Chia
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  • 24.
    Classical 2011
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 97577 Release Date: 03/29/2011   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Georges Bizet,  Giacomo Puccini,  Gioachino Rossini,  Traditional  ... 
    Performer:  Angela Gheorghiu,  Placido Domingo,  Joyce DiDonato,  Geoffrey Parsons  ... 
    Conductor:  Michel Plasson,  Eugene Kohn,  Eduardo Müller,  Robert Prizeman  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Scottish Ensemble,  Quatuor Ebène
    CD: $17.99
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  • 25.
    The London Harp Sound
    Label: Cala Records   Catalog: 119 Release Date: 03/08/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Claude Debussy,  Paul Sarcich,  Traditional,  Kahn, Gus / Donaldson, Wa  ... 
    Performer:  Jung Wha Lee,  Claire Jones,  Charlotte Seal,  Skaila Kanga  ... 
    Conductor:  Geoffrey Simon
    On sale! $22.98
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