Sierra: 21st Century Twists and Turns

Sierra Fandangos Rochester RPO LOGO 2-color_307C,7407C_6-in

On June 4 and 6, the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra’s season finale concerts present Roberto Sierra’s Fandangos, led by guest conductor Gregory Vajda. The 12-minute piece was commissioned by the National Symphony and received its world premiere in February 2001 conducted by Leonard Slatkin.

Sierra Fandangos Rochester Phil Gregory Vajda 1

Conductor Gregory Vajda; photo courtesy: Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra

“It was fun to work on Fandangos,” Gregory Vajda shares. “There are a lot of wonderful colors in the piece and bringing them to life is the secret to a good performance. This is a truly modern piece with a great dance music grove to it, or rather a real hyper-Fandango with 21st Century twists and turns.” Richard Decker, the orchestra’s Vice President of Artistic Administration, adds, “As one of America’s leading composers, Roberto Sierra has created many engaging compositions for orchestra including his widely-performed Fandangos. It is the perfect complement to Ginastera’s Estancia Dances, as we open up our season finale with two different approaches to music from the Americas.”

Sierra talks about the inspiration behind his popular work. “Antonio Soler’s Sierra Fandangos score‘Fandango’ for keyboard has always fascinated me, [with] its strange and whimsical twists and turns. My Fandangos is a fantasy, or a ‘super-fandango,’ which takes as its point of departure Soler’s work and incorporates elements of Boccherini’s ‘Fandango’ and my own Baroque musings. Some of the oddities in the harmonic structure of Soler’s piece provided a bridge for [me to] incorporate contemporary sonorities, [which then] opened windows to apparent alien sound worlds. In these parenthetical commentaries, the same materials heard before are transformed, as if one would look at the same objects through different types of lenses or prisms. The continuous variation form, [recurring] over an ostinato bass, gave me the chance to use complex orchestration techniques as another element for variation.”

More this month: on June 21, the Duo Gerassimez performs Sierra’s Los Destellos de la Resonancia (for cymbals and piano) at Kontrapunkte Speyer in Germany.