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August 6 Composer Birthday: Ernesto Lecuona

August 6 Composer Birthday: Ernesto Lecuona featured image

Ricky Ricardo introduced American audiences to Ernest Lecuona’s music on the hit TV show “I Love Lucy”. 

 

There’s nothing I love more than someone who takes their classical technical chops and mixes it up with jazz (Gershwin), or European folk music (Bartok) or music of sunny climes (Granados and Piazzolla) such as Ernesto Lecuona.

If you’re a piano fan and love Cuban music, Lecuona is your man. A composer for piano, stage, and film, he had fantastic chops, and it shows up in his works, of which he composed over 600. As a pianist he toured Spain with violinist Marta de la Torre and gave solo recitals in Paris, which coincided with a rising interest in Cuban music. His influence included Cuban, Afro-Cuban, and Spanish music forms.

Thanks to the popularity of 1950’s television sitcom “I Love Lucy”, Lecuona became widely known in the States. Lucille Ball’s husband, Desi Arnaz, was a huge fan of Lecuona, and as a fellow Cuban, introduced his music to mass American audiences on the television show. What Gershwin did in the United States, Lecuona did in the Latin American world – Lecuona’s talent for composition had that level of influence, and Cuban music became part of classical music.

Check out this link – the composer performs the Malaguena and Andalucia.

Ernesto Lecuona y Casado was born August 6, 1895, in Havana, Cuba, and died November 29, 1963, in Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Canary Islands.

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