LANSDOWNE

SYMPHONY

ORCHESTRA

Roberto Sierra Fandangos Program Notes

The  fandango  is  a  Spanish  courtly  dance,  in  three-four  time,  with  a  four-measure  bass  line.  Energetic  yet  simple  melodic  material  completes  the  piece,  likely  reflecting  the  fandango’s  Baroque  dance  origins,  with  melodies  improvised  over  the  repeated  bass.  In  classical  music,  one  of  the  most  famous  adaptations  is  the  Fandango  movement  of  Luigi  Boccherini’s  guitar  quintet,  and  Sierra  also  writes  that  his  piece  refers  to  the  keyboard  fandango  of  Spanish  composer  Antonio  Soler  (1729-83).  In  Sierra’s  2002  piece,  phrases  are  mostly  four  measures  long,  though  he  deftly  shortens  or  expands  the  pattern  from  time  to  time,  while  exploiting  the  symphony  orchestra’s  pallet  of  colors,  especially  the  auxiliary  instruments,  like  piccolo,  English  horn,  bass  clarinet,  and  an  expanded  percussion  section.  Five  times  in  this  ten-minute  long  piece,  however,  the  music  breaks  away  from  the  courtly  structure,  into  something  more  whimsical,  sometimes  growing  wild  and  even,  perhaps,  transforming  into  a  savage  expression  of  the  orchestra’s  possibilities.  Sierra  writes,  I  bring  [the  Fandango]  to  the  present  through  some  transformations  of  the  musical  fabric.  When  we  are  hearing  something  that  may  sound  Baroque,  a  window  into  our  time  opens,  and  the  piece  is  transformed.  My  title  Fandangos  (in  plural)  refers  to  the  multi-dimensionality  of  the  work. Born  in  1953,  Roberto  Sierra  has  served  as  composer-in-residence  with  the  Philadelphia  Orchestra,  as  well  as  orchestras  in  Milwaukee,  Puerto  Rico,  and  New  Mexico,  and  was  elected  to  the  American  Academy  of  Arts  and  Sciences  in  2010. 

Roberto Sierra

Born: October 9, 1953, Vega Baja, Puerto Rico