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BBC Music Magazine, October 2016

Hear the Afro-Caribbean rhythms in Sierra’s music, including the orchestral fantasy Fandangos. © 2016 BBC Music Magazine

David R. Dunsmore
MusicWeb International, December 2014

This [is] a hugely enjoyable CD…[and] Sierra’s work certainly deserves more public performances and I look forward to hearing again from him. © 2014 MusicWeb International Read complete review

Bert Bailey
MusicWeb International, June 2014

…these live Nashville Symphony Orchestra recordings under Giancarlo Guerrero show Sierra to be a composer to watch. The sound is crisp, and beautifully-layered. If you’re wondering what’s new and thrilling in the symphonic tradition, this release is definitely one not to miss. © 2014 MusicWeb International Read complete review

Phillip Scott
Fanfare, May 2014

Naxos produces some of their best results in Nashville, and here everyone is on top form. Guerrero galvanizes the orchestra to play with all the requisite style and brilliance, and the music itself is both substantial and fun. I fervently hope we will see more Sierra from these forces. © 2014 Fanfare Read complete review

Laurence Vittes
Gramophone, May 2014

Recorded live at Laura Turner Hall, the Nashville Symphony showcases its impressive command of colour, amplitude and virtuosity in three big orchestral pieces by Roberto Sierra…

The superb orchestral playing and Giancarlo Guerrero’s balance and care at the quieter moments are spotlighted in Naxos’s stunning sound. The composer’s booklet-note bespeaks a learned, poetic mind. © 2014 Gramophone Read complete review on Gramophone

Allen Gimbel
American Record Guide, May 2014

This is an enjoyable release and should please listeners seeking professionally made and recorded recent music with a minimum of challenges. © 2014 American Record Guide Read complete review on American Record Guide

Barry Forshaw
Classical CD Choice, March 2014

A vivid snapshot of the music of the Puerto Rican composer Roberto Sierra, which is rapidly acquiring a following with heavyweight commissions and performances for Sierra around the world. Fandangos was premiered at the BBC Proms in London and utilises a harpsichord piece attributed to Antonio Soler as the basis of an orchestral fantasy. The striking Sinfonía No. 4 channels the Germanic symphonic style, adding Spanish infusions. © 2014 Classical CD Choice

Remy Franck
Pizzicato, January 2014

Symphonic music with a good plain Latin-American touch, gorgeous rhythms and bright colors. Roberto Sierra is definitely an amazing composer, worth to be discovered. © 2014 Pizzicato

MusicWeb International, December 2013

SIERRA, R.: Sinfonía No. 4 / Fandangos / Carnaval (Nashville Symphony, Guerrero) 8.559738
SIERRA: New Music with a Caribbean Accent 8.559263

These two Naxos discs, one brand-new, one first released half a dozen years ago, represent fifty per cent of this ever-obliging label’s releases to date dedicated to Sierra’s works.

Whereas Sierra’s recent orchestral music indicates a more listener-orientated approach to writing, the earlier works on New Music with a Caribbean Accent are much more demanding. There is still plenty of evidence of Sierra’s European training, including composition study under György Ligeti, in the Sinfonía no.4 and Carnaval. Even so, both works are sufficiently tonal and melodic to appeal to a reasonably broad church. The earlier disc is a tougher nut, as the opening Vestigios Rituales, a ferociously virtuosic work for two pianos, immediately clarifies. It is stunningly performed by Continuum’s two directors, Cheryl Seltzer and Joel Sachs, for whom it was written. They and their fellow musicians are up against it, indeed, in almost every bar of Sierra’s chamber works. In almost all instances they are more than equal to its challenges—technically brilliant and highly receptive to the wildly inventive Sierra. In fact, both CDs are characterised by first-rate musicianship. The Nashville Symphony under Giancarlo Guerrero is well worth anyone’s money too. © 2013 MusicWeb International Read complete review

John Pitcher
ArtsNash, December 2013

Sinfonia No. 4, which the NSO commissioned and premiered, is a textbook example of the composer’s style. Sierra takes the template of an 18th-century, four-movement Germanic symphony and transforms it, substituting a bolero for the traditional minuet while coating the entire piece in brilliant orchestral colors. Guerrero and the NSO are in their element in this music, performing every note with just the right mix of virtuosity and sensuality.

The five movements in Sierra’s Carnaval all boast the names of legendary beasts—gargoyle, sphinx, unicorn, dragon and phoenix.  Naturally, Sierra’s vivid orchestration captures the essence of this mythical menagerie…Guerrero and his musicians, for their parts, deliver characterful interpretations that readily convey the beauty and ferocity of these creatures.

Fandangos…is awash in bright, contemporary orchestral hues, and it’s brimming with emotional heat. The NSO gives a performance that’s guaranteed to warm the soul on a cold winter night. © 2013 ArtsNash Read complete review, December 2013

Giancarlo Guerrero and the Nashville Symphony handle Sierra’s music skillfully and with grace, and the CD as a whole offers a fine opportunity to become acquainted with yet another contemporary composer who has found ways to reach into the past for inspiration that he can then transform into his own expressions. © 2013 Read complete review

Grego Applegate Edwards
Gapplegate Classical-Modern Music Review, December 2013

The disk is a definite winner! Do not let this one slip by if you want to be up on the classical symphony today and the possibilities of realizing, like the Phoenix, something transformed anew from the ashes of…musical legacies. Roberto Sierra does that very, very well and so his music is all the more enchanting for it. © 2013 Gapplegate Classical-Modern Music Review Read complete review

David Hurwitz, December 2013

Roberto Sierra’s music is fun. However self-conscious his Spanishisms may be…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.

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… © Read complete review

David Denton
David's Review Corner, December 2013

Three works written in this century from Roberto Sierra, one of the many composers in the United States who are now working in a modern view of tonalityFandangos…premiered to much acclaim at London’s Proms in 2002. Using the dance rhythm as a perpetual backdrop in the form of a minimalist composer, he superimposes a series of very attractive and lyric decorations, and points to his gift of imaginative orchestration…the Sinfonia…is an exploration of keeping within symphonic traditions, while at the same time seeking to change them. If that seems to be a contradiction in terms, its best just to sit back and enjoy music that falls readily and attractively on the ear. Carnaval draws its inspiration from mythical creatures—Gargoyles, Sphinxes, Unicorns, Dragons and the Phoenix. Each inhabits one of the six musical pictures that the titles brings to Sierra’s mind…it brings the work to an audience pleasing conclusion. They are not easy works to perform, but with Giancarlo Guerrero at the helm, the excellent Nashville Symphony have a natural instinct for the jazzy rhythms in all three works, the Sinfonia and Carnaval receiving their ‘world premiere’ recordings. The sound quality is excellent. © 2013 David’s Review Corner

Ettore Garzia
Percorsi Musicali, November 2013

…the skill of Sierra lies in the fact that his stylistic formula is a attractive condensation of music, not rhetorical, tending to the exaltation of some timbral colors (the usual good combinations of sounds that defy the boundaries of time and often involve the use of cencerros, guiro and other traditional percussions) and to the exaltation of the rhythms (which are the result of the ability of reworking of popular properties such as the bolero, the habanera, salsa, etc…)…

…The fourth symphony reproduces his compositional style in which he shows, in an orderly way, his attention to building a respect for the legacy of the past together the lack of tonal focus of the post-twentieth century’s musical society and the influences of cultural origin: the development of the movements draws echoes of Beethoven’s instrumental impulse, losses of melodic touch and the acquisition of a hypothetical musical citizenship established in Puerto Rico… © Percorsi Musicali

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