Emil Franzi: Roberto Sierra’s “Fandangos” review

Roberto Sierra: Fandangos (2000)

By Emil Franzi / SoAzNewsX

The current generation of American composers contains many who are highly skilled in orchestration. Some of them even write real music to go along with it.

One of the latter is Roberto Sierra, well described by FANFARE reviewer Robert Karl:

“Roberto Sierra (born 1953) has incorporated his Latin heritage into his music, following the lead of his Puerto Rican roots rather like Bartok did his Hungarian. He’s a composer of enormous energy and his music’s drama, athleticism, and brilliant color are its most notable qualities.”

The composer describes it thusly:

“There are two prevailing theories about the origins of the fandango: one places it in the Iberian Peninsula, while the other points out to the New World (the West Indies and Nueva España—modern México). Although during the 18th century the Fandango was considered to be too sensual, the dance quickly became very popular and many composers integrated it in their works. A harpsichord piece attributed to Antonio Soler  (1729-1783) was my point of departure. Soler’s Fandango seems fractured, almost like a written improvisation. The broken structure provided the base for my orchestral fantasy, and also allowed the incorporation of elements from Luigi Boccherini’s (1743-1805) and Domenico Scarlatti’s (1685-1757) respective fandangos, as well as my own Baroque musings.”

Sierra’s Fandangos from 2000 has become a popular work with a half dozen recordings. It’s a bright, cheerful and fun piece that’s easy for both lovers of modern and traditional music to enjoy without sacrificing any originality.


Emil Franzi is the Editor-in-Chief/Publisher of the Southern Arizona News-Examiner. He is also a classical music and opera aficionado.



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