In the last post I mentioned that I have been listening to Roberto Sierra lately (prior offering contains a work by Sierra for Guitar and String Quartet..) and this gem of a disc of exciting and inventive concertos is one of the finest. Sierra is a prime example of a great American composer who is, more recently, finally getting his due (such as the recordings on Naxos...they're up to five recordings already!) and I hope this momentum continues. All three concertos here are a real delight; indeed, I find it's difficult to have a favorite as I enjoy them all so highly-Sierra's music always has something interesting to say, one might blissfully find that to be the case minute-by-mintute for the duration, no matter what work it is. I know I do. I'm most certain that the majority of visitors will adore this music!
*I know I rarely say this (I assume it's a given for serious collectors!!) but please please do buy the music - all the Naxos releases and well all other available recordings if your budget allows! Naxos especially is beyond a musical godsend, needless to say, and although it's the most popular and (still all these years later!) most affordable classical label - the day could easily come when the glorious, seemingly non-stop flood of the highest quality releases could be reduced to a trickle. There are plenty of now defunct labels that were spectacular. We mustn't forget that as an audience we are *the* specialist group, no matter how many esoteric and non-esoteric discs alike seem to be available and easily accessible..
To save myself the time for now, here are some notes about Roberto Sierra:
Roberto Sierra has been part of the repertoire of many of the leading orchestras, ensembles and festivals in the USA and Europe. At the inaugural concert of the 2002 world renowned Proms in London, his Fandangos was performed by the BBC Symphony Orchestra in a concert that was broadcast by both the BBC Radio and Television throughout the UK and Europe. Sierra's numerous commissions include works for many of the major American and European orchestras. International ensembles that have performed his works include the orchestras of Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Atlanta, New Mexico, Houston, Minnesota, Dallas, Detroit, San Antonio and Phoenix, as well as by the American Composers Orchestra, the New York Philharmonic, Los Angeles Philharmonic, National Symphony Orchestra, Royal Scottish National Orchestra, the Tonhalle Orchestra of Zurich, the Spanish orchestras of Madrid, Galicia, Castilla y León and Barcelona, among others.
Commissioned works include: Concerto for Orchestra for the centennial celebrations of the Philadelphia Orchestra commissioned by the Koussevitzky Music Foundation and the Philadelphia Orchestra; Concerto for Saxophones and Orchestra commissioned by the Detroit Symphony Orchestra for James Carter; Fandangos and Missa Latina commissioned by the National Symphony Orchestra of Washington DC; Sinfonía No. 3 "La Salsa", commissioned by the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra; Danzas Concertantes for guitar and orchestra commissioned by the Orquesta de Castilla y León; Double Concerto for violin and viola co-commissioned by the Pittsburgh and Philadelphia Orchestras; Bongo+ commissioned by the Juilliard School in celebration of the 100th anniversary; Songs from the Diaspora commissioned by Music Accord for Heidi Grant Murphy, Kevin Murphy and the St. Lawrence String Quartet; and Concierto de Cámara co-commissioned by the the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, Chamber Music Northwest and Stanford Lively Arts.
In 2003 he was awarded the Academy Award in Music by the American Academy of Arts and Letters. The award states: "Roberto Sierra writes brilliant music, mixing fresh and personal melodic lines with sparkling harmonies and striking rhythms. . ." His Sinfonía No. 1, a work commissioned by the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, won the 2004 Kenneth Davenport Competition for Orchestral Works. In 2007 the Serge and Olga Koussevitzky International Recording Award (KIRA) was awarded to Albany Records for the recording of his composition Sinfonía No. 3 “La Salsa”. Roberto Sierra has served as Composer-In-Residence with the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, The Philadelphia Orchestra, The Puerto Rico Symphony Orchestra and New Mexico Symphony. In 2010 he was elected to the prestigious American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
Roberto Sierra's Music may be heard on CD's by Naxos, EMI, New World Records, Albany Records, Koch, New Albion, Koss Classics, BMG, Fleur de Son and other labels. In the spring of 2004 EMI Classics released his two guitar concertos Folias and Concierto Barroco with Manuel Barrueco as soloist (released by Koch in the USA in 2005). Roberto Sierra was born in Vega Baja, Puerto Rico, and studied composition both in Puerto Rico and Europe, where one his teachers was György Ligeti at the Hochschule für Musik in Hamburg, Germany. The works of Roberto Sierra are published principally by Subito Music Publishing (ASCAP).
Concierto Caribe, For Flute & Orchestra
1) I. Figuras
2) II. Claro de luna
3) III. Sabor
Of Discoveries, For Two Guitars & Orchestra
4) I. Ocean
5) II. Stars
6) III. Land
Concierto Evocativo, For Horn & Strings
7) I. Lento
8) II. Scherzando
9) III. Ritmico y Energico