Roberto Sierra: Piano Works

Album cover art for upc 8436597700344
Label: IBS
Catalog: IBS-72022

Bengtson, Matthew

The Estudios rítmicos y sonoros (Studies in Rhythms and Sonorities) of Roberto Sierra, harken back to the grand virtuoso tradition of piano pieces by Chopin and Liszt. Without question, the Estudios continue to push the envelope of technical demands for the performer, as important Etude composers had always done in the past. They demand the utmost not only in a player’s physical technique, courage, and sheer velocity, but also in their intellectual capacity. One must internalize the cross rhythms like a jazz drummer accurately enough to reveal the idealistic conception of the notation. The mysterious landscapes of the Piezas Líricas serve as a foil to the bustling excitement of the Estudios. The resonance and clarity of the acoustic in Auditorio Manuel de Falla offers the perfect ambience for these pieces, lending them the spiritual breadth they require. The inspiration of the Alhambra seems even to lend them a special aura of timelessness and mysticism. Album for the Young offers a striking contrast to both the turbo-charged virtuosity of the Estudios and the high-art sophistication of Piezas Líricas. The Album offers directness, charm, and even naïveté. The musical material represents scenes and ideas of childhood or family life, with folk-like simplicity. Unlike the well-known models, it is derived primarily from Latin-American musical elements. Critically acclaimed as a “musician’s pianist,” Matthew Bengtson has a unique combination of musical talents ranging from extraordinary pianist, to composer, analyst, and scholar of performance practice, and thus is in demand as both soloist and collaborator. An advocate of both contemporary and rarely performed music, he commands a diverse repertoire, ranging from William Byrd to György Ligeti and numerous contemporary composers.

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