ROBERTO SIERRA (b.1953): Kandinsky for Piano Quartet*, Clarinet Sonata, 33 Ways to Look at the Same Object for Piano 4 Hands*. * - First Recordings.

Catalogue Number: 06T063

Label: Naxos

Reference: 8.559849

Format: CD

Price: $11.98

Description: As we've seen before, Sierra is adept at incorporating elements of Afro-Caribbean music into an otherwise eclectic and unpredictable idiom. Kandinsky consists of imaginative responses to the artist's paintings, in an abstract, complex style that, while appropriately colorful and dynamic, at first seems distant from Caribbean influences. Little by little, though, characteristic rhythms start to be felt, although the music retains the abstract quality of the non-representational paintings. The Clarinet Sonata, in four movements, is a strikingly rhythmic work; several years more recent than Kandinsky, and with different aims in view, it is also considerably more obviously tonal. Great virtuosity and rhythmic alacrity are required of both players. The slow movement is a nocturne, with glowing, intricate filigree decoration over a slow basic pulse. The jazzy finale, "with swing" is an endless stream of high energy melody. The large piano duet work combines elements of variation form and cycles of character pieces. The 'object' is a six-note chord, at first treated with severe economy, but gradually becoming more harmonically lush and from half way through, more rhythmically vigorous, until exuberant Caribbean swinging rhythms and ostinati take over and build toward a riotous conclusion. Continuum.

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