Somehow it is hard to imagine in advance the style of a Puerto Rican
serious composer. It is all too easy to assume adoption of local colour
leading to a hybrid concoction without the underlying requirement of a quality
beyond simple dance music.
Roberto Sierra, on the evidence of three concertos, shows barely a sign
of that. He studied with Ligeti, which must be an eyeopener whatever musical
direction you favour. Even so, it would be unnatural for a composer with
roots in a land so full of musical colour to abandon it, and Sierra has
grasped from instinct and training a style which provides listeners with
the amalgam that he has forged and finds acceptable to his own feelings.
Sierra's music generally, the fastiduousness in texture and
colour, and also rhythmic gesture, provides elation for the careful listener.
However we choose our listening adventures, Sierra is an unusual and inventive
composer. [Listen to the Flute Concerto, opening.]
This CD has been in my possession and heard at intervals for several
weeks, and I find personal preference for the Concerto Evocativo for horn
with strings. It's the simplest in texture and colour, providing an interesting
musical journey [listen to the Horn Concerto, 2nd
movement]. The other pair of concertos - flute and two guitars
- are drenched with colour and expertly scored to reflect the brightest
hues [listen to the Guitars' Concerto, 2nd movement].
The choice is yours.
Copyright © Basil Ramsey, December
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