DONATION STATUS
Needed before 2016-12-31
$ 2,500
So far donated
$ 860

Ernesto Lecuona (1896-1963): Zambra Gitana

Discussion in 'Submission Room' started by 88man, May 10, 2010.

  1. 88man

    88man Member Piano Society Artist

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2008
    Messages:
    429
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Boston
    Last Name:
    Vosgerichian
    First Name:
    George
    Ernesto Lecuona (1896-1963): Zambra Gitana ("Gypsy Zambra")

    To some extent, Ernesto Lecuona (1896-1963) has been described as the Cuban George Gershwin. He continued the musical traditions started by Ignacio Cervantes by infusing his music with Afro-Cuban rhythms. Lecuona serves as a link between the virtuoso pianistic tradition established in the late 19th century and the diverse expressions of modern era jazz and popular Latin American dance rhythms.

    Zambra Gitana is an example of Lecuona's character pieces and is idiomatic of having distinct form and sustained mood. Zambra Gitana was written around 1929-30, and reflects his continued fascination with Andalucia, Spain. The Andalusian Suite appeared earlier in 1919-20. The zambra is an evocative flamenco dance performed by the Romani people (Gitanos) of Granada, Spain, which is believed to have evolved from earlier Moorish dances and has some similarities to belly dancing. The zambra dance forms part of the wedding ceremonies at Gitano weddings, and gypsies perform it for tourists in the Andalusian Sacromonte Caves and Hills of Granada. It was outlawed at one time in history and became known as the "Forbidden Dance". In modern times it has been espoused by flamenco dancers. It is danced barefoot with finger cymbals, the blouse is tied under the bust and the skirt is tight around the hips, then flares out and has a ruffle at the end. Here's a picture of the Sacromonte Caves from my Spanish tour a few years ago, taken just before the flamenco dancers arrived. It was an amazing evening of sangria, sultry, sexy, seductive music! (Please, don't ask me to post photos of the dancers too). 8)

    Zambra Gitana was in an album of 55 pieces: Ernesto Lecuona Piano Music, published by Edward B. Marks Music Company. This is the only current edition available, and there are over 2 dozen deviations from the original piano rolls made from 1928-1954. The most noticeable error is that it's written in the wrong key. After transposing the piece from E minor to E-flat minor, I made the other corrections to reflect the composer's original intentions. Thanks for listening.

    (Recording link directly above picture)


    Lecuona - Zambra Gitana
     
  2. Rachfan

    Rachfan Active Member Piano Society Artist

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2008
    Messages:
    2,151
    Likes Received:
    2
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Chief Operating Officer, retired
    Location:
    U.S.A.
    Last Name:
    April
    First Name:
    David
    Hi George,

    I just listened to "Zambra Gitana", which is a colorful and picturesque piece of music indeed. The only Lecuona piece I ever learned was "Malaguena". Until now I had never heard "Zambra Gitana" before, but I believe that your rendition is certainly very convincing and a delight to hear. Nice playing! Also, thanks for including all of that background information.

    That was interesting how you discovered the correct key signature for the piece and transposed it to E flat minor based on the piano roll. I had a similar key signature experience with Lecuona. When our daughter was in middle school, the music director there asked if I would play the accompaniment for the choral version of "Malaguena" (along with some other songs) and I was pleased to do so. The original piano version of "Malaguena" was written in C#m, but the choral accompaniment was printed in Cm undoubtedly to be more comfortable for the singers. Learning the accompaniment was nothing, as the figuration was so similar to the piano version. But was it ever uncomfortable to play in Cm!!! Some of the arpeggiated figuration did not fall under the hand well to the point of almost being painful. Nonetheless, the performance went off well. But what a difference a key signature can make!

    P.S. If nobody asks to see a picture of the dancers, remind me and I'll request it. :lol:
     
  3. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2006
    Messages:
    9,930
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Netherlands
    Last Name:
    Breemer
    First Name:
    Chris
    A marvellous performance ! In particular the ending is delicious. There seem to be a couple of mistakes in the introduction, which I am surprised you did not clean up. Great dynamics.
    The piece itself is not quite as good as the ones I know from Lecuona, but still it's a charmer. It would probably not sound as opulent in E minor.
     
  4. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2006
    Messages:
    9,930
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Netherlands
    Last Name:
    Breemer
    First Name:
    Chris
    I second that most forcefully. It's the sultry, sexy, seductive dancers we want to see, not that dreadful touristy pub facade :wink:
     
  5. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2006
    Messages:
    8,716
    Likes Received:
    1
    Last Name:
    Hart
    First Name:
    Monica
    This is up, George. Great job; you captured the spirit nicely! And now we have two recordings of this on the site - your E-flat version and also an E minor version play our beloved J. Robson.
     
  6. 88man

    88man Member Piano Society Artist

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2008
    Messages:
    429
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Boston
    Last Name:
    Vosgerichian
    First Name:
    George
    Thank you David, Chris, and Monica for your comments. Thank you very much, Monica for posting! Chris, I am glad you said something about the opening bar. I recorded 3 takes on this piece, and posted the wrong take with the fumbled beginning. This is what happens when I spend more time writing threads, and finding pictures late into the night, instead of focusing on the selecting the right take. :p I just attached the correct file; can it be changed on the site too? Sorry, for the inconvenience.

    Alright guys, it's getting late again tonight - just give me a little time to find and resize "those" pictures for the site. :wink:

    Rewriting the score turned into a "restoration" project by recreating E-flat minor version of this charming piece. Besides the 2 dozen or so changes, the major differences from the E minor version is in the opening and ending phrases. I made the changes on photocopied sheets, and If anyone wants the E-flat version, please let me know.

    Monica, yes, I am glad to that there are 2 versions/keys of this piece on the site. As I sit here writing this post, it all seems rather bittersweet as I would have enjoyed discussing this project with the our prolific Lecuona admirer on PS, the late Mr. John Robson. He was active before my arrival, however, I am sure we would have shared an intriguing musical discussion upon the subject of the 2 versions of this piece. God Rest His Soul....

    George


    Lecuona - Zambra Gitana
     
  7. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2006
    Messages:
    8,716
    Likes Received:
    1
    Last Name:
    Hart
    First Name:
    Monica
    I've replaced this, George. And for my trouble, perhaps you can post photos of some dark, sexy, handsome Spanish man for me to drool over? :lol:
    (If not, a nice bottle of sangria will suffice. :p )
     
  8. musicrecovery

    musicrecovery Member Piano Society Artist

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2009
    Messages:
    386
    Likes Received:
    3
    Occupation:
    Special Ed/Music Teacher NYC (Retired)
    Location:
    New York City
    Home Page:
    Last Name:
    Rochelle
    First Name:
    Kaila
    Hi George

    Thank you for introducing me to the Zambra Gitana and for the discussion
    about the work.

    Your playing effectively brings out the sculpture of the piece.
    The melody sings beautifully.

    Kaila
     
  9. lisztzsil

    lisztzsil New Member Piano Society Artist

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2007
    Messages:
    218
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Brazil
    Last Name:
    Dias
    First Name:
    Alexandre
    Hello Goerge,

    You've made a terrific job in restoring and recording this amazing piece. I love it.
    Could you please send me your restored score?
    afsdia at gmail.com (thanks in advance)

    Also, for you guys who are drooling for the dancers, check out this video by Grupo Corpo, a Brazilian dance company, who did a show called "Lecuona" entirely dedicated to his songs. Note that, on the recording, the piano is played by Lecuona himself.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dxekhWLv5D4

    Best,
    Alexandre
     
  10. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2006
    Messages:
    9,930
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Netherlands
    Last Name:
    Breemer
    First Name:
    Chris
    Hm, that's not exacly sexy or sultry... But nice to hear Lecuona play.
     
  11. 88man

    88man Member Piano Society Artist

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2008
    Messages:
    429
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Boston
    Last Name:
    Vosgerichian
    First Name:
    George
    Thank you Kaila and Alexandre for the wonderful comments. I am glad that everyone enjoys this piece in E-flat minor as well.

    Alexandre, during the week is always hectic, but I'll have time over the weekend to scan the restored sheets, so that I can email it to you.
     
  12. lisztzsil

    lisztzsil New Member Piano Society Artist

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2007
    Messages:
    218
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Brazil
    Last Name:
    Dias
    First Name:
    Alexandre
    Thank you George :)

    Best,
    Alexandre
     
  13. 88man

    88man Member Piano Society Artist

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2008
    Messages:
    429
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Boston
    Last Name:
    Vosgerichian
    First Name:
    George
    OK Chris, David, Monica, and Alexandre, here are some of the flamenco dancers. I actually danced with the hot one in the black/red dress as she picked me from the audience. I won't post that photo, but suffice to say that she said I was able to keep up with her. :wink: The Sacromonte Caves are tight, sultry, dark, and hot in the summer - the perfect recipe for an amazing experience of flamenco music and dance! I'd go back to Spain and the Balearic Islands in a heartbeat! The last 4 pics were from an terrific flamenco concert in Seville 2 days before. Sangria was involved at that dance party too!!! :D

    Why not both? Here's the Sangria you ordered. It's Thursday night, I just made some... Cheers! I am actually making 2 gallons for Tango Night at my home on the 23rd! The invite for PS members is still open... 8)
     
  14. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2006
    Messages:
    8,716
    Likes Received:
    1
    Last Name:
    Hart
    First Name:
    Monica
    Oooh, thanks, George. You took care of both my requests.(although that one guy has some pretty strange arms. :lol: )
    I'm going out with some girl friends tonight, so I think I really will have some sangria.
    And sure I'll come to your party. Just send me a plane ticket!
     
  15. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2006
    Messages:
    9,930
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Netherlands
    Last Name:
    Breemer
    First Name:
    Chris
    That's more like it :D
     
  16. hyenal

    hyenal New Member Piano Society Artist

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2007
    Messages:
    844
    Likes Received:
    0
    Occupation:
    Ph.D student
    Location:
    Germany
    Last Name:
    Lee
    First Name:
    Hye-Jin
    Hi George, what a wonderful performance! I really enjoyed it. I specially like the sovereign way how you handle this piece. Very masterly!!! Surely your experience in Spain helped you interpreting this piece so well.
    And thanks for pics of those beautiful dancers. Usually I'd be more interested in male dancers, but among those dancers in your pics the girls look much more attractive :roll:
     
  17. musicusblau

    musicusblau Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2008
    Messages:
    3,028
    Likes Received:
    3
    Occupation:
    High-school-teacher with subjects music and german
    Location:
    Germany
    Last Name:
    Pfaul
    First Name:
    Andreas
    Hi George,
    wow, that´s really an original spanish feeling while listening to your splendid performance. I didn´t know that piece and I have to say, I enjoyed your playing thoroughly. The excellent recording technique and sound-quality makes it a double pleasure. It´s like listening to a CD. Bravo on the whole line!
    I also enjoyed the pictures, I have never seen flamenco dancers in reality, I have to admit.
     
  18. 88man

    88man Member Piano Society Artist

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2008
    Messages:
    429
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Boston
    Last Name:
    Vosgerichian
    First Name:
    George
    Hello Hye-Jin and Andreas, and thank you for your kind remarks. I am very glad that you enjoyed this piece. It was actually by coincidence that I happened to visit the birthplace of Zambra Gitana in my travels a few years ago. Spain is so unique and such a varied land of rich landscapes, history, peoples, cultures, religions, art, music, food, etc... I tried to capture the diversity of through contrasting musical textures in this little piece...
     
  19. Jan

    Jan Member Piano Society Artist

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2008
    Messages:
    61
    Likes Received:
    0
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    teacher
    Location:
    Germany
    Home Page:
    Last Name:
    Bertram
    First Name:
    Jan
    Youtube:
    https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCMpJwDjUguCQGsAAJQSBhTw
    Hi!

    Maybe you found the best way to preserve memories of your tour to Spain - just play some music that really fits...
    Thanks for sharing this piece of music, so rich of imaginations!
     

Share This Page