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Ernesto Lecuona died in 1963 with a great reputation as a composer of musicals, film music and a large collection of songs and piano pieces that became the voice of Latin America generally and Cuba in particular. His Suite Espagnole became very popular, from which Malagueña particularly [listen -- track 16, 2:06-3:24], and the extrovert Danzas Cubanas Suite, two movements of which complete Casanova's recital [listen -- track 21, 0:00-1:13].

The most recent composer of the four in this recital is Rene Touzét who died in 2003 at the age of 87. His popular songs and dances have been performed everywhere, and though the style is little different from that of Saumell a century earlier, there is an exquisite warmth in pieces like that which appropriately gives its title to the CD, Recordando al Maestro [listen -- track 3, 0:00-1:34].

This CD represents a certain stylistic genre of Cuban music, and it has a fine advocate through the spirited playing of Elena Casanova, born in Havana and educated at the Conservatoire there until she moved with her family to California where she graduated at Redlands University. Perhaps her undoubted technical command might serve the promotion of a wider range of Cuban composers, for with figures like José Ardévol, Harold Gramatges, Aurielo de la Vega and Tania León among others, names for many of us who don't yet know the music, there is more to Cuba's composers than just the dance rhythms. The recording is rather dry and the slim insert, beyond supplying a brief note on each composer, is not very informative, and has nothing on the pianist. But it is an attractive introduction to one significant aspect of Cuban music.

Copyright © 13 November 2006 Patric Standford, Wakefield UK


Recordando - Elena Casanova - Remembering the Maestros of Cuban classical

MS 1136 Stereo FIRST RELEASE 51'36" 2005 Elena Casanova

Elena Casanova, piano

Rene Touzét (1916-2003): Zapateo Cubano; La Trece; Recordando al Maestro; Dancita Nos 1, 2 and 3 (Tres Miniaturas); Siempre en Clave; Cervantina; Ignacio Cervantes (1847-1905): Picotazos; Los Tres Golpes; Ilusiones Perdidas; Manuel Saumell (1817-1870): Los Ojos de Pepa; El Pañuelo de Pepa; Tu Sonrisa; Pero Por qué?; Ernesto Lecuona (1895-1963): Malagueña (Andalucia, Suite Espagnole); Andalucía (Andalucia, Suite Espagnole); La Comparsa (Danzas Afrocubanas Suite); Danza Lucumi (Danzas Afrocubanas Suite); En Tres por Cuatro (Danzas Cubanas Suite); No Hables Más (Danzas Cubanas Suite)



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