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Sharing releases, present and past, to brighten your day. WXXI Classical has its eyes and ears on the latest releases from classical artists working today. When we come across a story or a release we think you might enjoy, we’ll be sharing it with you on CD Spotlight. You’ll learn more about the artists online at WXXI Classical, and you’ll hear selections from these artists on FM 91.5. CD Spotlight shares new releases by artists that you’ll want to know and some by great artists and ensembles that deserve to be in the spotlight again.

CD Spotlight: Roberto Sierra, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, Domingo Hindoyan

It’s autumn. The season of vibrant colors, cool crispness, and fervent activity.

It’s autumn. When the shadows lengthen, spirits can darken, and ghosts come to call.

Part of my soundtrack for this turn of the season this year is a recent retrospective of orchestra music by Roberto Sierra, played by the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic conducted by rising star conductor Domingo Hindoyan.

Listen to a bit here.

The music catches my ears with its clarity, the energy, and the melodies.

Sierra, who is from Puerto Rico, says he incorporates in many of his works, “idioms that stem out of Afro-Caribbean and, more specifically, from the folk and popular music of Puerto Rico.”

For many years, he has been based just down the road from us, in Ithaca, New York, where he is Professor of Music Emeritus at Cornell University. Here in the Rochester area, you may have heard Sierra’s works with the Eastman Wind Ensemble on concerts and a live album from a few years ago. Then earlier this year, in May, the RPO, Andreas Delfs, and concertmaster Juliana Athayde gave the world premiere of a bracing Violin Concerto that Sierra wrote for the orchestra.

Looking back over this music written over the past twenty five years, Sierra said that “Most interesting was to notice that, although my music has changed through the years, there are traits common to all these pieces. These are elements that encompass aspects ranging from the expressive to the technical." In particular, he says he has maintained “a penchant for certain types of melodic constructions, harmonies, and orchestration choices” that are present in these works.

As we celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month, it's a good time to spend a bit of extra time with the work of Hispanic and Latinx musicians, perhaps finding some who you will be happy to have on your playlist year round. I hope that you've been enjoying hearing more each day on WXXI Classical, especially as we spotlight this recording from Roberto Sierra and Domingo Hindoyan.

Mona Seghatoleslami is the Music Director, host and producer on WXXI Classical 91.5 FM weekdays from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. She also hosts the lunchtime concert series Live From Hochstein Wednesdays at 12:10 p.m., interviews musicians, produces special programs, and works on any project she can find that helps connect people and music in our community through WXXI.