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Ernesto Lecuona


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 118 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    Decca Sound: The Piano Edition
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 4832243 Release Date: 11/17/2017   Number of Discs: 55
    Composer:  Robert Schumann,  Franz Liszt,  Johannes Brahms,  Sergei Prokofiev  ... 
    Performer:  Martha Argerich,  Julius Katchen,  Vladimir Ashkenazy,  André Previn  ... 
    Conductor:  Riccardo Chailly,  Ataulfo Argenta,  Bernard Haitink,  André Previn  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra,  London Philharmonic Orchestra,  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
    On sale! $169.98
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  • 2.
    Piano Cubano / Montero
    Label: Grand Piano   Catalog: 758 Release Date: 11/10/2017   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ernesto Lecuona,  Carlos Fariñas,  Andrés Alen
    Performer:  Yamilé Cruz Montero
    On sale! $16.99
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  • 3.
    Sound of Cuba / Various
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 560474 Release Date: 04/14/2017   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Anonymous,  Maguel Campanioni,  Angel Almenares,  Oscar Hernandez  ... 
    Performer:  Floricelda Faez,  Candida Faez,  Manuel Barrueco,  Kathryn Stott
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Trio Miraflores
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  • 4.
    The Golden Age Of Light Music: 100 Greatest American Light Orchestras, Vol. 3
    Label: Guild   Catalog: 5235 Release Date: 01/15/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Cole Porter,  Richard Rodgers,  Rube Bloom,  Bill Snyder  ... 
    Performer:  Warren Covington,  Bill Snyder,  Lou Busch,  Frankie Carle
    Conductor:  Johnny Green,  Marty Gold,  Joe Leahy,  Bill Snyder  ... 
    CD: $9.99
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  • 5.
    Domingo: The 50 Greatest Tracks
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 002412702 Release Date: 11/13/2015   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi,  Gioachino Rossini,  Giacomo Puccini,  Friedrich von Flotow  ... 
    Performer:  Placido Domingo,  Ileana Cotrubas,  Hans Sotin,  Robin Leggate  ... 
    Conductor:  George Szell,  Claudio Abbado,  Giuseppe Sinopoli,  Carlos Kleiber  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra,  Chamber Orchestra of Europe,  Philharmonia Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $21.99
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  • 6.
    Salut Salon Live
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 553013 Release Date: 11/13/2015   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Leonard Bernstein,  Felix Mendelssohn,  Camille Saint-Saëns,  Astor Piazzolla  ... 
    Performer:  Lara Jones,  Jule Hinrichsen,  Phoebe Scott
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Salut Salon!
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  • 7.
    Cme Presents Piano Celebration, Vol. 1
    Label: Msr   Catalog: 1559 Release Date: 11/10/2015   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Clement Doucet,  Wim Statius Muller,  Vladimir Horowitz,  Samuel Barber  ... 
    Performer:  Ming Xie,  Min Kwon,  Reed Tetzloff,  Soyeon Park  ... 
    On sale! $16.98
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  • 8.
    Abrazando: Latin Embrace
    Label: Albany Records   Catalog: 1571 Release Date: 06/02/2015   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Astor Piazzolla,  Heitor Villa-Lobos,  Ernesto Lecuona,  Isaac Albeniz  ... 
    Performer:  Rosa Antonelli
    On sale! $18.98
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  • 9.
    El Guadalquivir Busca Al Greco: Memorias
    Label: Contrastes   Catalog: 12201302 Release Date: 03/31/2015   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Astor Piazzolla,  Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco,  Manuel de Falla,  Tono Contreras  ... 
    Performer:  Giampaolo Bandini,  Cesare Chiacchiaretta,  Lorenzo Micheli,  Javier Riba  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Toño Contreras Quintet
    CD: $18.99
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  • 10.
    The Young Kiri: The Early Recordings 1964-70
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 430325 Release Date: 03/06/2015   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Gioachino Rossini,  Princess Te Rangi Pai,  Traditional,  John Lennon  ... 
    Performer:  Dame Kiri Te Kanawa
    On sale! $31.99
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  • 11.
    Cancion Sin Palabras / Martha Marchena
    Label: Msr   Catalog: 1545 Release Date: 03/03/2015   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Moisés Moleiro,  Luisa Elena Paesano,  Heitor Villa-Lobos,  Licinio Mancebo  ... 
    Performer:  Martha Marchena
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  • 12.
    Creole Connections / Gunnar Larsen
    Label: Lawo Classics   Catalog: 1070 Release Date: 02/10/2015   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ernesto Nazareth,  Louis Moreau Gottschalk,  Astor Piazzolla,  David T. Roberts  ... 
    Performer:  Morten Gunnar Larsen
    CD: $17.99
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  • 13.
    Lang Lang at The Royal Albert Hall
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 308255 Release Date: 11/17/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Frédéric Chopin,  Manuel Ponce,  Ernesto Lecuona  ... 
    Performer:  Lang Lang
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  • 14.
    Lang Lang at the Royal Albert Hall
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 308254 Release Date: 11/17/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Frédéric Chopin,  Manuel Ponce,  Ernesto Lecuona  ... 
    Performer:  Lang Lang
    DVD: $11.99
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  • 15.
    Plácido Domingo - The Latin Album Collection
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 303161 Release Date: 10/27/2014   Number of Discs: 8
    Composer:  Gonzalo Roig,  José Maria Napoleón,  Manuel Esperon,  Armando Manzanero  ... 
    Performer:  José Guadalupe Alfaro,  Richard Bravo,  Ed Calle,  Rodolfo Castillo  ... 
    Conductor:  Bebu Silvetti,  Lee Holdridge
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Miami Symphonic Strings,  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra,  VVC Symphonic Orchestra
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  • 16.
    5 Classic Albums / Isbin
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 624364 Release Date: 10/14/2014   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Antonio Lauro,  Isaias Savio,  Leo Brouwer,  Benito Canonico  ... 
    Performer:  Gaudencio Thiago de Mello,  Sharon Isbin,  Paul Winter
    Conductor:  Muhai Tang,  Howard Griffiths,  José Serebrier
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Gulbenkian Foundation Symphony Orchestra Lisbon,  Zurich Chamber Orchestra,  New York Philharmonic
    CD: $22.99
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  • 17.
    Songs Without Words - From Bach To Bachianas / Eliot Fisk, Yehuda Hanani
    Label: Albany Records   Catalog: 1510 Release Date: 09/09/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Charles Gounod,  César Cui,  Gabriel Fauré,  Ernesto Lecuona  ... 
    Performer:  Yehuda Hanani,  Eliot Fisk
    On sale! $18.98
    CD: $16.99
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  • 18.
    I Don't Like Classical Music, But I Really 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  ... 
    CD: $17.99
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  • 19.
    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,  James Francis McHugh,  Zequinha de Abreu  ... 
    Conductor:  Werner Muller,  Percy Faith,  Paul Weston,  Carmen Dragon  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Clebanoff Strings
    CD: $9.99
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  • 20.
    Magic Boxes / Dario Muller
    Label: Dynamic   Catalog: 7684 Release Date: 05/27/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Emil Nebling,  Rudolf Friml,  H. Sousline,  Joaquin Turina  ... 
    Performer:  Dario Müller
    CD: $17.99
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  • 21.
    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
    CD: $19.99
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  • 22.
    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
    CD: $19.99
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  • 23.
    Ernesto Lecuona: Cuba Espana
    Label: Nimbus   Catalog: 6214 Release Date: 05/14/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ernesto Lecuona
    Performer:  Clara Rodriguez
    CD: $18.99
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  • 24.
    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 Baroque Orchestra,  La Pieta  ... 
    CD: $18.99
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  • 25.
    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
    On sale! $65.99
    CD: $58.99
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