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Phillip Scott
Fanfare, July 2016

The vocal writing is fluent, and sung with vibrant richness by Canadian soprano Martha Guth. …the song cycle is as well performed and musically attractive as the other items, and demonstrates the stylistic breadth of Sierra’s work. © 2016 Fanfare Read complete review



Chris Morgan
Scene Magazine, April 2016

…the musicians of the Puerto Rican Symphony Orchestra achieve something astonishing with their performance. Naked orchestral power and sultry Latin rhythms combine brilliantly on the CD’s vibrant title track, informally known as ‘La Salsa’, …The other three pieces on the disc—the baroque-inspired Borikén, the distinctive sounding El Baile and the song cycle Beyond the Silence of Sorrow—are each performed with the same focused attention and intensity. Hot stuff. © 2016 Scene Magazine Read complete review



Laurence Vittes
Gramophone, April 2016

Sung with touching restraint by the dark-voiced Canadian soprano Martha Guth, Sierra’s music is intended to connect with his heritage, …The performances by the Puerto Rico Symphony conducted by Music Director Maximiano Valdés meet the music head-on in audiophile sound. © 2016 Gramophone Read complete review on Gramophone



ClassicalCDReview.com, March 2016

The Puerto Rico Symphony is an expert group, and conductor Maximiano Valdés leads with a firm hand. Excellent audio. © 2016 ClassicalCDReview.com Read complete review



Lisa Flynn
WFMT (Chicago), February 2016

The sonic color and distinctive rhythms in these four works provide further evidence of the art of internationally acclaimed Puerto Rican composer Roberto Sierra. His Symphony No 3, La Salsa, owes its inspiration to the music of the Spanish Caribbean and is a salsa of older and newer rhythms. The instrumentally vivid Borikén is based on the Baroque chaconne but with a Latin twist, while El Baile invokes traditional music in a wholly distinctive way. Beyond the Silence of Sorrow is a captivatingly lyrical song cycle. © 2016 WFMT (Chicago)



Paul Corfield Godfrey
MusicWeb International, February 2016

The playing of the orchestra is committed and well-enunciated, and the recording enables the listener to hear every detail. © 2016 MusicWeb International Read complete review



Grego Applegate Edwards
Gapplegate Classical-Modern Music Review, February 2016

All four works show Sierra as a composer unto himself, a rather brilliant exponent of modernism with Latin American roots, and a master of modern orchestral textures. The Puerto Rico Symphony under Valdes sounds quite good and idiomatically conversant with Sierra’s Latin-and-beyond sensibilities.

This is not avant music but neither is it engaging in much rear-view mirror gazing. It is music that should appeal to a large audience without compromising its seriousness and Latin-American vitality. Rather outstanding music, I would say. Very recommended. © 2016 Gapplegate Classical-Modern Music Review Read complete review




Infodad.com, February 2016

The orchestra’s firm delegation to the background leaves it to Martha Guth to declaim the poems, which are really chants, and she does so quite well—to music that acknowledges its minimalist roots through the soprano’s repetitive melody as well as the fading-into-background nature of the accompaniment. © 2016 Infodad.com Read complete review




Lewis J. Whittington
ConcertoNet.com, February 2016

The golden-centered soprano is earthy and ethereal during “Prayer for the Land” featuring harp and woodwind description, emulating a pouring of lush orchestral waves. Inside “About Me Like a Robe” Guth’s silvery vocalization rides atop a frenzied orchestra. In contrast, Guth uses soulful operatic chanteuse for “To Tell You of My Love.” The traditional song quality of “The Woman Who Walked Here” essays a soaring vocal tribute to the strength of generations of Native American women.

The stellar musicianship and artistry of [Puerto Rico Symphony Orchestra] comes vibrantly through on these tracks. …this should be counted among the best contemporary classical recordings of the year. © 2016 ConcertoNet.com Read complete review



Midwest Tape, February 2016

The fifth album of works on Naxos devoted to the internationally acclaimed Puerto Rican composer Roberto Sierra. The sonic color and distinctive rhythms provide further evidence of the art of Sierra, and they are featured here with the first recording by the Puerto Rico Symphony Orchestra on Naxos. © 2016 Midwest Tape




David Hurwitz
ClassicsToday.com, January 2016

…three highly entertaining orchestral works saturated with Latin rhythms and melodic motives. …The performances, featuring Sierra’s home town team under the capable baton of Maximiano Valdés, do the music proud, and the engineering is vivid. © 2016 ClassicsToday.com Read complete review



Barry Forshaw
Classical CD Choice, January 2016

There is no shortage of orchestral colour and rhythmic verve to be found here; …The rhythms enshrined in these four works provide further evidence of the art of internationally acclaimed Puerto Rican composer, Roberto Sierra. The award-winning Sinfonía No. 3 ‘La Salsa’ owes its inspiration to the music of the Spanish Caribbean and is a salsa of older and newer rhythms, intoxicatingly presented amidst revelry and dance. The instrumentally vivid Borikén is based on the baroque chaconne but with a Latin twist, while El Baile invokes traditional music in a wholly distinctive way. Beyond the Silence of Sorrow is a lyrical song cycle. © 2016 Classical CD Choice Read complete review



David Denton
David's Review Corner, January 2016

Born in Puerto Rico in 1953, Roberto Sierra has joined that group of North American composers who are presently building bridges with alienated audiences. Fearing that music would descend into the chasm caused by the Second Viennese School and those who have since followed in the doctrines, Sierra’s writing is based on the melodic sounds of yesteryear, brought up to date in a way to which audiences can relate. Whether you support this new era or not, this disc readily latches itself onto your memory, the jazzy rhythm of the Third Symphony’s opening movement returning us to his Spanish Caribbean background, its use of dance rhythms from that region spiced by percussion, Sierra creating the sounds of a steel band in the opening Tumbao? The dreamy content of Habanara that follows is not evocative of that name, a vibrant Danzas leading to a jerky and colourful final Jolgorio, that returns to the vivacity of the opening movement. Baroque meets Latin-American dance could sum up Boriken, a one movement juxtaposition of melody and stealthily introduced atonality. Composed three years ago, El Baile shows Sierra’s affection for works based on a theme and variations, though on a casual hearing it is a short orchestral scherzo. Finally a song cycle for soprano and orchestra, Beyond the Silence of Sorrow, a setting of six poems by the American-born, Scott Momaday. I have caught some of the words, sung by Martha Guth, and they are relative to life from birth to the days of a loving relationship. Lyric by nature, they fall pleasantly on the ear. Not a world famous name, but the Puerto Rico Symphony are an orchestra of real quality who respond with enthusiasm to the Spanish conductor, Maximiano Valdés. © 2016 David’s Review Corner



Brian Wilson
MusicWeb International, January 2016

…the second movement is as sensuous as Ravel but it’s also reflective and even dark in tone in places. Most of the other music, too, has roots in the dance music that must be second nature to the Puerto Rico Symphony Orchestra who, under the direction of Maximiano Valdés, give idiomatic performances. © 2016 MusicWeb International Read complete review





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