Nimbus NI 6214
Lecuona: Cuba España – Clara Rodríguez
Ernesto Lecuona was born in Guanabacoa, a village near Havana, Cuba. His oldest sister, Ernestina, introduced him to the instrument for which he showed extraordinary talent, playing the accompaniment to silent movies from the age of seven to help his family financially.
In 1908 he composed his first piece, Cuba and America; in 1912 his first musical, Fantasia Tropical, as well as his first ballet, La comparsa, thus marking the beginning of a prolific life as a composer. He wrote more than 400 songs, 176 pieces for the piano, fifty theatrical pieces, thirty-one orchestral works, fifteen soundtracks for the cinema, five ballets, one trio, and an opera. Popularity came to him thanks to his virtuosic, passionate piano playing, the beauty of his melodies, and the force of the rhythms of his compositions, but also thanks to the hundreds of interpretations of pieces such as Siboney, Para vigo me voy, Canto Karabali, Maria my own, La comparsa, and Malagueña. His creative talent intensely touched a generation of Latin Americans who have not forgotten his music.
During the 1940s and ’50s Metro Goldwyn Mayer and 20th Century Fox asked him to write the music for many of their films. In 1942 he received an Academy Award for his song Always in my heart, from a film produced by Warner Brothers.