Notes and Editorial Reviews
Roberto Sierra’s refined compositional voice is subtly combined with contemporary musical techniques and his Puerto Rican heritage in the three works recorded here.
Cantares, commissioned by the Cornell University Chorus and Glee Club to celebrate the university’s sesquicentennial anniversary, evokes ancient Peruvian, Aztec and Afro Caribbean voices lost in time. The virtuoso Triple Concierto transforms the popular Caribbean rhythms of salsa, bolero and merengue into complex contemporary expressions, while the polyrhythmic layers of Loíza conjure a Puerto Rican town known for its strong African traditions.
Puerto Rico-born composer Roberto Sierra is internationally recognized and renowned for his integration of Caribbean music with the Western idioms he acquired during studies in Europe, and this release of recent works follows a whole series of much-admired and highly popular recordings of his music on the Naxos label. The most recent of these, Kandinsky (8.559849), was described as ‘a real find’ by Gramophone, and as presenting ‘mouth-dropping renditions of this music of supreme virtuosity’ by Fanfare. Sinfonía No. 3 ‘La Salsa’ (8.559817) was admired by ClassicsToday.com for ‘three highly entertaining orchestral works saturated with Latin rhythms and melodic motives’, and the Missa Latina (8.559624) was a GRAMMY nominee and summed up as ‘a powerful and individual major work performed with exemplary skill and commitment in superb sound’ by MusicWeb International. In other words, new recordings of works by Roberto Sierra are always a welcome and much in demand addition to the catalogue.
Cantares is performed atmospherically and with a thoroughly mystical character. In Loiza, the Afro-Caribbean dance Bomba is the starting point for polyrhythmic variations that are enchantingly dancing. It is an original and rousing work. Sierra has dedicated his Triple Concerto to the Arbós Trio. It is based on Caribbean music and popular rhythms. This work too is presented in an enthralling interpretation, so that this distinctive CD and the exemplary performances can only be strongly recommended.