When pianist Ricardo, currently in residence in the Capital Hilton lounge, starts playing Manuel de Falla's "Fire Dance" or "Three-Cornered Hat," he brings a unique viewpoint to the music: He happens to be the great-grandson of Falla, the most distinguished Spanish composer of the early 20th century.
Ricardo (he uses the single name because "it's a lot easier to remember") also performs some of Falla's ballads, "which are not really known. And I've composed a piece, 'Follow Me,' which is an abstract of the 'Ritual Fire Dance.' " They will appear on an album Ricardo recently finished recording in Las Vegas with the Liberace Orchestra.
He came to Washington partly at the instigation of his wife, Maryjene Casares, daughter of Spain's former ambassador here. The pianist, who was born in Guatemala, admits he's somewhat "in limbo until the album comes out. I've spent the last three years working in lounges; it's the dues you have to pay, like anybody else." He expects to be at the Hilton "three or four more weeks at most, because Washington is one of cities I do want to sell my album in."
That album evolved out of a chance meeting in Las Vegas with Liberace's brother. Soon after, Ricardo was in the studio recording a collection of pop standards as well as his great-grandfather's melodies, some of which he's been playing since the age of 4. An all-Falla collection may follow next year though the playing will be "in my style. I'm not a classical pianist, I'm a stylist, and I would like to play his music the way I feel it."