Ernesto Lecuona

Andalucía, suite for piano (Suite Española)

    Description by James Manheim

    For much of the last century, Ernesto Lecuona's piano suite Andalucía was the hidden source of a variety of musical compositions and performances. Its fiery finale, Malagueña, exists in several arrangements for guitar, became a popular song with a text by Marian Banks, and showed up for years on easy listening LPs by the likes of Andre Kostelanetz and the 101 Strings. Other pieces from the suite also appeared with added English texts, and no doubt Lecuona himself popularized the music during his years in New York as leader of the band Lecuona's Cuban Boys. But the original work, written around 1927, was largely forgotten outside of Cuba until pianist Thomas Tirino began to revive the music of the "Cuban Gershwin" in the late '90s. What Tirino revealed, to growing acclaim at first centered on South Florida, was a splendid six-movement concert showpiece that fused dynamic pianism rooted in Romantic virtuosity, Spanish and gypsy folk rhythms, and Lecuona's own unerring melodic sense. The six movements evoke various Spanish sounds and scenes, alternating lyrical pieces with dance rhythms topped by spectacular runs. "Gitanerías" is a flamenco-influenced piece, while "Alhambra," an evocation of Spain's Moorish-era palace, is one of several pieces that reveals Lecuona's familiarity with impressionist idioms. All in all, Andalucía (also known as the "Spanish Suite" or "Suite Española") fully lives up to the Gershwin comparison: it is classical piano music enlivened by popular vigor and informed by a distinctive compositional intelligence.

    Parts/Movements

    1. Córdoba
    2. Andaluza
    3. Alhambra
    4. Gitanerías
    5. Guadalquivír
    6. Malagueña

    Appears On

    Year Title Label Catalog #
    2013 BIS BIS 1854
    2012 Nimbus NI 6214
    2010 Analekta 9963
    2008 Lorelt / Zebralution
    2005 Lorelt 119
    2004 Meridian Records 84501
    2003 Centaur Records 2606
    2000 Talent Records 44
    1997 Sony Classical SK-63199
    1995 BIS 754
    1995 Polydor / PolyGram 527162
    1994 Madacy 4643
    1992 Montilla 2094
    1983 CBS Records MK-38828