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Sierra: Sinfonia No 4, Fandangos, Carnaval / Guerrero, Nashville

Release Date: 11/19/2013 
Label:  Naxos   Catalog #: 8559738   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Roberto Sierra
Conductor:  Giancarlo Guerrero
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Nashville Symphony Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Length: 0 Hours 56 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Roberto Sierra’s music is fun. However self-conscious his Spanishisms may be (he hails from Puerto Rico), he has forged a personal style at once original, and approachable. Fandangos borrows music by Boccherini, Soler, and Scarlatti and uses it to create a colorful contemporary take on the Fandango of old. If you know the pieces to which Sierra refers, you will enjoy the music all the more, but you certainly don’t need to know anything at all to get the full experience.

Symphony No. 4 has four brief movements lasting a bit less than 25 minutes. There are fewer overtly Spanish references here, though the use of color and rhythm have a Latin flair. The third movement is marked “Tempo de bolero”, but the nifty thing about
Read more Sierra’s music is his use of avant-garde playing techniques and textures in handling mostly traditionally tonal material. In this respect he resembles Leonardo Balada, but his style is more direct, less obviously modernist in its gestural language.

Carnaval is a delightful suite illustrating five mythological creatures: Gargoyles, Sphinxes, Unicorns, Dragons, and The Phoenix. The juxtaposition of the last two may look like an item from a Chinese restaurant menu, but the actual music makes reference to Schumann’s Carnaval, as well as Papillons. It’s all done with good taste and a light touch, and as with the other two works the performances by the Nashville Symphony under Giancarlo Guerrero sound very confident.

The engineering captures Sierra’s brilliant scoring while maintaining good balances and textural clarity, but the notes, by Sierra himself, prove that composers should let professionals do this sort of thing. They are full of big words that tell us little that is useful. Recommended for the music alone.

-- David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday.com
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Works on This Recording

1. Fandangos by Roberto Sierra
Conductor:  Giancarlo Guerrero
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Nashville Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 2000 
2. Sinfonia no 4 by Roberto Sierra
Conductor:  Giancarlo Guerrero
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Nashville Symphony Orchestra
Written: 2008-2009 
3. Carnaval by Roberto Sierra
Conductor:  Giancarlo Guerrero
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Nashville Symphony Orchestra
Written: 2007 

Sound Samples

Sinfonia No. 4: I. Moderamente rapido
Sinfonia No. 4: II. Rapido
Sinfonia No. 4: III. Tiempo de bolero
Sinfonia No. 4: IV. Muy rapido y ritmico
Carnaval: I. Gargoyles
Carnaval: II. Sphynxes
Carnaval: III. Unicorns
Carnaval: IV. Dragons
Carnaval: V. The Phoenix

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  2 Customer Reviews )
 Classical Latino January 20, 2014 By Ralph Graves (Hood, VA) See All My Reviews "Puerto Rican composer Roberto Sierra writes in an original post-romantic style that reminds me of Villa-Lobos and Chavez -- but only a little. "Fandangos" which opens the album may be inspired by the music of Spain, but it's no pastiche. Sierra incorporates characteristic melodic turns into his music, giving it spice. The feel of the dance is there, making this a rousing curtain-raiser. The Sinfonia No. 4 also has some Spanish elements in it. the third movement "Tiempo de Bolero" for example, emulates the rhythms of that dance. And the final movement uses gestures from Latino dance orchestra -- the piano playing rhythmic punctuations in octaves, and extensive use of Latin percussion, such as bongos, congas, and claves. "Carnaval" is a set of five characteristic pieces, each one representing a fantastical monster. Each movement is a brilliant miniature, painting a vivid portrait of its subject through Sierra's skillful orchestrations." Report Abuse
 A weighty symphony from Nashville January 9, 2014 By Dean Frey See All My Reviews "Roberto Sierra's Sinfonia no. 4 is part of the great Germanic symphonic tradition, as the composer himself states in his liner notes for this new Naxos CD. But even more so, I think, it follows the lead of great Latin American composers like Carlos Chavez, who wrote six symphonies, and Villa-Lobos, who wrote eleven, while never sounding like Brahms or Mahler. Alberto Ginastera comes to mind as well, though he wrote only Symphonic Movements and Estudios Sinfonicos, and not named Symphonies. Like these masters, Sierra's music is more rhapsodic; it evolves organically, rather than dialectically. This Symphony remains serious and vital music, and it's presented in a thoughtful manner by Giancarlo Guerrero and the Nashville Symphony. The rhythmic variety of Sierra's music serves a structural purpose, and is not only there to provide coloristic, "Latin" effects. It seems sometimes Bachian, in the manner of Villa-Lobos's Bachianas Brasileiras. Sierra took 18th Century music as the starting-off point for his Fandangos, making reference to Antonio Soler, Domenico Scarlatti and Luigi Boccherini, all of whom worked in Spain. This is lively music designed to show off the virtuoso capabilities of an orchestra. The Nashville musicians come through with flying colours, as they so often have in their Naxos recordings in the past decade. Carnaval makes reference to Schumann's 'characteristic' piano pieces, but these miniatures of distilled character also bring to mind short, pointed, contrasting pieces from Latin America, such as the Prole do Bebe by Villa-Lobos, Camargo Guarnieri's Ponteios, or the suites and dances of Ernesto Lecuona. Giancarlo Guerreo is having an outstanding time as Music Director of the Nashville Symphony, building it into one of America's finest orchestras, in live performance as well as on disc. This disc is another example of how important Nashville has become in classical as well as so many other kinds of music." Report Abuse
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