The tradition of Caribbean music was not lost on Ernesto Lecuona, Cuba's answer to George Gershwin. Though not as percussive, Lecuona's compositions retain the rolling feel of calm blue waters surrounding his homeland. Simultaneously playful and peaceful, his music is a lighthearted approach to "art" music.
Born a child prodigy in a musical family, Lecuona first performed in public at age 5. By 11 he was already composing, and at 12 he accompanied silent films at a nearby cinema. He pursued classical studies, graduating from the National Conservatoire in Havana at 17, and studying further under Joaquin Nin. He went on to an active career, composing for stage, screen and radio, as well as being a much sought-after concert pianist.
Throughout his career, Lecuona loved the dance: the conga, Afro-Cuban, mazurka, and most especially the waltz. Virtually every selection in this collection is a dance, with no fewer than seven waltzes. Both white peasant and Afro-Cuban traditions weave their way into his music, creating novel pacing even in the traditional European dances.
Performed charmingly by Kathryn Stott on solo piano, this album is a touching tribute to one of Cuba's most popular composers.