Posted on Aug 15 2006 05:57 PM
From Reverb Central, written by Phil Dirt:
Ernesto Lecuona: "Lecuona Plays Lecuona"
Label: RCA CD
Cuban composer Ernesto Lecuona has contributed many fine melodies to surf and the music word at large. In 1955, RCA brought him from Cuba to New York to record this album. He plays 18 of his own songs on solo piano. The music is stunningly seductive. No, it's not surf, but sometimes you just need to go back to the source to appreciate just how special surf music is.
Picks: Malaguena, Andalucia, San Francisco El Grande, Maria La O, Siboney, Noche Azul, La Comparsa, Danza Lucumi, Damisela Encantadora
"Malaguena" is often reduced to an extraction of a couple of bars. In complete form, the emotional content is much higher, and the shear beauty of the song overwhelming. Ernesto Lecuona is not just a fine writer, he also plays piano very well.
Another song that has often been covered by surfbands is "Andalucia," more commonly known as "The Breeze and I." In Ernesto Lecuona's own hand, it's quite different. faster and more fanciful, the song takes on a playful and flighty sound.
"Ante El Escorial"
"Ante El Escorial" is a dramatic and romantic song with a kind of piano bar feel, yet it's much more classical than that. Haunting and dynamic.
"San Francisco El Grande"
"San Francisco El Grande" moves slowly along a dramatically intense line, much like "Malaguena" or "The Breeze and I," but more delicate. Quite beautiful.
"Siempre En Mi Corazon"
This seems less interesting, though it seems to foreshadow Ferrante and Teischer in some respects. It has a kind of "Autumn Leaves" quality to it.
"Maria La O"
Moody with an exotic edge, like a gypsy caravan. Moody and slightly sad, yet compellingly beautiful with a sense of fate unavoidable being lifted by the light of dawn. Excellent!
many a surfband has covered "Siboney," starting with Johnny Fortune. Big, dramatic, rolling, sad, and very emotional. This is really quite something.
A lot like parts of "Andalucia," "Noche Azul" moves with an optimistic sadness. Delicate and fluid, and full of emotion.
A gentle rhythm of the Middle east runs on the bass keys while a delicate and breezy melody line floats over the top. Mysterious and wistful, with a haunting attractiveness.
"Danza Negra" is a very emotional and dramatic song with an almost stiff meter. The keyboard seems to want to be a harpsichord, yet the tone is acoustic piano. Quite unusual.
A kind of Hugo Winterhalter feeling emotes from "Danza Lucumi" as Ernesto Lecuona plays piano beautifully. A sad, slightly wintery image evolves from the keyboard.
"La Antigua" is almost morose in it's emotionalism, yet is delicate and fluid. Moody almost to the point of depressing. You'll need a hanky on this one.
"En Tres Por Cuatro"
Big drama, approaching pompous. Not very melodic if you're expecting "Malaguena," but attractive nonetheless.
"Canto Del Guajiro"
Snow gently falls on the city grounds inside the wall, but outside the gates of the palace. Gypsies and gentry collide in a ballet of deception. Quite interesting in a thematic film score way.
"La Habanera" is the sort of piano piece that can run easily in a dinning room while guests ignore every note. Not meaningless at all, but not commanding of your attention either.
This is a more playful song, with a childish prance about it that coexists with a mature fatalism. It has an innocence about it, a non-recognition of the burdens of life.
Soft and brook-like, "Crisantemo" just rolls off the keys in a variation on a theme of gentle rain and a fireside read.
the title says it - sorta - "Romantico" is romantic, but not beautiful in the sense of alluring preludes to romance. It's more about the ups and downs of the heart.
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