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Amanda Virelles | Souvenir de Cuba

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Classical: Romantic Era World: Caribbean Moods: Instrumental
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Souvenir de Cuba

by Amanda Virelles

This album features dances and pieces for piano by Cuban composers Ignacio Cervantes, Manuel Saumell, and Nicolás Ruíz Espadero, also featuring American composer L. M. Gottschalk, in a unique blend that captures the essence of 19th century-Cuba.
Genre: Classical: Romantic Era
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  Song Share Time Download
1. Serenata Cubana
5:10 $0.99
2. Homenaje
2:00 $0.99
3. Picotazos
0:47 $0.99
4. Ilusiones Perdidas
1:42 $0.99
5. La Celosa
1:17 $0.99
6. Te Quiero Tanto
1:14 $0.99
7. La Cortesana
1:08 $0.99
8. Un Recuerdo
1:32 $0.99
9. La Encantadora
0:47 $0.99
10. Invitación
1:25 $0.99
11. Amén
1:03 $0.99
12. Souvenir de Cuba
3:20 $0.99
13. La Melancolía
2:06 $0.99
14. La Virtuosa
0:52 $0.99
15. Pero por qué?
1:07 $0.99
16. Recuerdos Tristes
1:18 $0.99
17. Lamentos de Amor
1:34 $0.99
18. La Matilde
0:46 $0.99
19. Dice que no
0:42 $0.99
20. Recuerdos de Gottschalk
1:50 $0.99
21. Luisiana
0:41 $0.99
22. Barcarolle, Op. 18
8:42 $0.99
23. Ojos Criollos, Caprice Brillant, Op. 37
2:13 $0.99
24. El Cocoyé, Grand Caprice Cubain di Bravura
7:12 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
Amanda Virelles, pianist
Cuban American pianist Amanda Virelles has performed as a soloist as well as a collaborative artist throughout the United States, Europe, Central, and South America. She has degrees from Cuba, the Russian Academy of Music Gnessins in Russia, and The University of Southern Mississippi. Her principal teachers include Serguei Leschenko, Margarita Feodorova, Inna Malinina, and Lois Leventhal. Virelles has performed under the baton of renowned conductors such as Yoshikatsu Fukumura, Mikhail Shervakov, Dmitir Manolov, Fillipo Zigante, Kimbo Ishii-Eto, Miguel Harth-Bedoya, and Jay Dean. As a pedagogue Dr. Virelles has served at Universidad del Atlántico in Colombia, the Conservatorio Nacional de Lima, Peru, The University of Southern Mississippi, Lane College, Vanderbilt University and Belmont University.

Souvenir de Cuba. Program Notes
The chronicles of 19th century-Cuba tell us about wonders that fortunate visitors enjoyed. Louis Moreau Gottschalk wrote to a friend that “The sky, the air, the flowers, the fruits, are full of music to me.” Other visitors described steamships arriving in Havana harbor, the smell of sugar cane, the blue sky, and palm trees dancing in the Caribbean breezes. They could not help but notice beautiful damsels walking with their lace parasols along the Paseo del Prado, and of course the Havana society emerging in the salons and concerts at the famous Tacón Theater, which featured so many international luminaries. Just imagining this scenery makes clear why such beauty inspired so many poets, musicians, and artists.

Gottschalk first visited Cuba in 1853. He was admired there not only as a virtuoso pianist, but also as an occasional conductor of the Tacón Theater orchestra. Local musicians including Manuel Saumell and Nicolás Ruíz Espadero would quickly become his friends, and would dedicate some of their own compositions to him. In addition, Espadero would later edit some of Gottschalk's posthumous works. The style of Ignacio Cervantes, one of Espadero’s disciples, resembled that of Gottschalk. Cervantes eventually became a pupil of Gottschalk, who suggested that he continue his music studies at the Paris Conservatory, as had Gottschalk himself. Cervantes’ time there inspired him to impart the flair of the Parisians counterdanses, minuets, and marches into his Cuban dances. It is no coincidence that the music of both Gottschalk and Cervantes sparkles with traces of the Chopinesque style that euphorically swamped Paris in the 19th century (Souvenir de Cuba, Serenata Cubana).

Saumell and Espadero both dedicated music to Gottschalk, and he reciprocated by composing pieces redolent of a characteristic Cuban romanticism. Cuban counterdancers inspired Gottschalk, just as his piano playing inspired Cuban composers. But it wasn’t just Cuban music that entered Gottschalk’s heart, but also the people, “Ojos Criollos” - how dreamily beautiful they are! Such eyes! At the same time, his friend Saumell dedicated his own counterdances “ a mi amigo L.M. Gottschalk”, to my friend L.M.Gottschalk ( Dice que no, Luisiana, Recuerdos de Gottschalk). And Espadero dedicated La Melancolía, Barcarolle, Op. 18, and other pieces to Gottschalk. To complete the circle, Cervantes would dedicate his Homanaje (Homage) to Saumell.

Let this recording be an homage to Romantic Cuba, the Cuba of crinolines and fans, handkerchiefs and mantillas, volantas and calesas, contradanzas and poetry.

The Cuban Contradanza

The contradanza travelled from Europe to Cuba in the 18th century. It had been known in England as country dance, contradanse in France, and contradanza in Spain. Most Cuban contradanzas were written in 2/4 or 6/8, although some exceptions in 3/4 can also be found (La Cortesana, La Virtuosa). Initially conceived for dance, to be played by typical instrumental ensembles in the salons, Saumell's, Cervantes' Espadero's and Gottschalk's contradanzas are miniature concert pieces for solo piano. They embrace both creole rhythmic flavor and sophistication. As is common for character pieces, these contradanzas (also called danzas) bear suggestive, sometimes enigmatic titles.



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