Home | Reviews | Articles | Festivals | Competitions | Other | Contact Us

SIERRA Missa Latina

Milwaukee Symphony Chorus & Orchestra/Andreas Delf
Heidi Grant Murphy (soprano)
Nathaniel Webster(baritone)

Naxos American Classics 8.559624 [68 mins]

Roberto Sierra's large-scale "Mass for Peace" has been composed with popular appeal and the promotional material carries the thought "I can't imagine anybody who starts listening to it wanting to turn it off before it is over".

Well, for a reviews editor deluged with discs to consider that is a potent thought, and Missa Latina passed the test. I enjoyed it, and we did indeed play it right through with considerable pleasure.

It is frankly populist and spiced with Caribbean inserts, all of which which we found invigorating and not meretricious. It would go down well in the London Proms at the Albert Hall.

Composers from other countries get sparse exposure in England, depending very much who is running the festivals etc and how much from abroad will be let in alongside native contemporary composers who are, understandably, favoured. Favourites change with the decades. Sierra used to be featured in the wonderful Almeida Festival of Contemporary music in London in c.'80s, and I had occasionally wondered what had come of him and why he'd disappeared. This is a good opportunity to catch up.

The most perceptive review of the Mass I've found is jfl's on IONARTS (Feb. 06)

This Milwaukee performance is impressive, with two excellent solo singers. The production is better than many from this source, with full texts on the insert notes (Latin and English) and more supportive information online (MUSICAL ANALYSIS AND HISTORICAL PERPECTIVES By JOSE RIVERA).

At Naxos' bargain price, definitely recommendable.

Peter Grahame Woolf

see also Sierra's Turner [Editor]