Sierra: Octeto en Cuatro Tiempos

On November 13, the New Juilliard Ensemble presents Roberto Sierra’s Octeto en Cuatro Tiempos (Octet in Four Tempos), led by music director Joel Sachs. Sierra’s 12-minute work was commissioned by the Orchestra of St. Luke’s in celebration of the ensemble’s 40th anniversary in 2014. It is scored for clarinet, bassoon, horn, and string quintet. St. Luke’s asked Sierra to write a new work inspired by Schubert’s Octet — a piece that has been one of the ensemble’s trademark works throughout its history — which provided the ensemble with its own contemporary contribution to the classical music repertoire.

Joel Sachs leads the New Juilliard Ensemble; Photo: Nan Melville

Joel Sachs shares some thoughts about Octeto en Cuatro Tiempos. “When I need a piece that will be rewarding for players who enjoy new challenges, and will also speak powerfully to audiences that have varied backgrounds, I like to turn to Roberto Sierra’s music. He has an unusual instinct for hitting a good balance between challenges and rewards for the performers; and, he also has an uncanny ability to vary his style and materials so that each piece brings new challenges and rewards. The Octet had the right instrumentation and was the right size for a concert of the New Juilliard Ensemble that was to be slightly smaller in scale than usual; and, as so often is the case with Sierra’s music, it makes a perfect, bang-up ending to a concert.”

Also happening this month: the Puerto Rico Symphony performs Sierra’s Sinfonia No. 5,
“Rio Grande de Loiza,”
conducted by Maximiano Valdés.