Sunday, January 29, 2006

Roberto Sierra?

Roberto Sierra, a new name to me, debuts a new choral work Thursday night in DC.

I'm curious about Sierra, and I'm going to make an effort to go to the Kennedy Center Thursday, but I'm more curious about this article in the Post about Sierra, especially these quotes:
Every composer must confront musical modernism at some point in his or her career. The Puerto Rican composer Roberto Sierra, whose new choral work, "Missa Latina," will receive its world premiere Thursday at the Kennedy Center, moved past that forbidding style after some encouragement from the most unlikely of people.

Gyorgi Ligeti, Sierra's composition teacher in Hamburg in the early 1980s and one of the enfants terribles of the avant-garde, gently pushed the young composer away from his own style of atmospheric, tuneless music. "Having little Ligetis was not his thing," Sierra says in a phone interview from his home near Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y., where he heads the composition department.

Sierra recalls earlier Latin American composers such as Heitor Villa-Lobos and Alberto Ginastera, who featured sounds from their respective Brazilian and Argentine homes. Osvaldo Golijov of Argentina is perhaps the only other composer today who possesses the same command of the Latin world's unique idiom.


Sierra is unapologetic about his use of popular and folk music, saying that Beethoven and Bach, among many other composers, similarly merged popular and classical styles. Sierra sees the approach as a much-needed break from abstract modernism and a source of energy for classical music over time. "Composers of my generation needed to move away from that narrow path," the composer says. "I want structure, but I want people to be moved at a basic level."
"Much needed break from abstract modernism?" "Composers of my generation needed to move away from that narrow path? "Atmospheric, tuneless music?" Ligeti is an "enfant terribles of the avant garde?" "Must confront musical modernism at some point in his career?"

What the?


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