Sierra, Stucky concertos featured on radio program

Two 21st-century works for recorder and orchestra by Cornell faculty composers are included in a recent feature by New York City classical radio station WQXR.

The concertos, by the late Given Foundation Professor of Composition Emeritus Steven Stucky, and Roberto Sierra, the Old Dominion Foundation Professor in the Humanities, are featured among a selection of music written from 1728 (Vivaldi) to 2006.

“Who’s to say the recorder can’t be serious?” writer Heather O’Donovan asks. “Its very existence in classrooms today is the result of a 700-year musical tradition that extends all the way back to the Middle Ages.”

“Scales,” the first movement of Stucky’s “Etudes” (2000), is featured alongside Sierra’s “Perpetual Motion” (2006), from “Prelude, Habanera, and Perpetual Motion.”

O’Donovan says that when Stucky was approached to write a piece for recorder, he thought the instrument was too limited in its dynamics, and declined the offer. The composer’s mind was changed by seeing recorder soloist Michala Petri in concert with the Buffalo Philharmonic. His series of etudes in 2000 succeeded in “developing a riveting conversation between recorder and orchestra,” she wrote.

Sierra’s piece was originally intended for flute or recorder and guitar; he later expanded and transformed it “into a concerto that maintains all the spice of the original,” O’Donovan wrote.

Sierra’s “Concierto Barroco” also was featured by Chicago classical station WFMT in an article on musical compositions related to literature for World Book Day, April 23. The guitar concerto was inspired by Cuban author Alejo Carpentier’s surrealist novel of the same name.

Read the story in the Cornell Chronicle.

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