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Sierra: Missa Latina 'Pro Pace'

Roberto Sierra , Andreas Delfs , Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra & Chorus , Heidi Grant Murphy , Nathaniel Webster Audio CD
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)

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Listen to Samples and Buy MP3s

Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.

Song TitleArtist Time Price
listen  1. Missa Latina, "Pro Pace": IntroitusHeidi Grant Murphy 5:34$0.89  Buy MP3 
listen  2. Missa Latina, "Pro Pace": KyrieHeidi Grant Murphy 5:59$0.89  Buy MP3 
listen  3. Missa Latina, "Pro Pace": GloriaHeidi Grant Murphy15:14Album Only
listen  4. Missa Latina, "Pro Pace": CredoHeidi Grant Murphy20:56Album Only
listen  5. Missa Latina, "Pro Pace": OffertoriumHeidi Grant Murphy 7:28$0.89  Buy MP3 
listen  6. Missa Latina, "Pro Pace": SanctusHeidi Grant Murphy 5:26$0.89  Buy MP3 
listen  7. Missa Latina, "Pro Pace": Angus DeiHeidi Grant Murphy 7:35$0.89  Buy MP3 

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Sierra: Missa Latina 'Pro Pace' + Cancionero: Chamber Music of Roberto Sierra
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Product Details

  • Performer: Heidi Grant Murphy, Nathaniel Webster
  • Orchestra: Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra & Chorus
  • Conductor: Andreas Delfs
  • Composer: Roberto Sierra
  • Audio CD (May 26, 2009)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Naxos
  • ASIN: B0020LSWE8
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #190,201 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Editorial Reviews


A Latino setting of the Mass? Didn't Osvaldo Golijov already cover that territory? Not exactly. And what difference does that make? Unlike Golijov's La Pasion Segun San Marcos (St. Mark Passion), Sierra is not bound to any particular storytelling with his setting of the Mass text and, as a result, seems to be throwing in everything he knows - in the boisterously theatrical spirit of Night of the Mayas composer Silvestre Revueltas. Like Golijov, Sierra is irresistible, but in different ways. Sierra writes - sometimes overwrites - for traditional symphonic and choral forces, doesn't mind going over the top, and even treads the border of kitsch. It's exhilarating and fun. One Washington Post critic wrote, "I can't imagine anybody who starts listening to the Missa Latina wanting to turn it off before it's over." I couldn't say it better. --, David Patrick Stearns, May 24, 2009

Roberto Sierra (b. 1953) was born in Puerto Rico, studied in Europe, and is now based in the United States. Several CDs of his music are available, the most recent being a substantial set of variations for piano and orchestra, Variations on a Souvenir. His Hispanic background and, in particular, a Caribbean influence inform his music, which has become stylistically more accessible as he gets older. Bongos, conga drums, and Cuban timbales are regular features of his orchestration, and he often makes use of Latin dance rhythms, even in this relatively serious setting of the Mass. A major work for large forces, Missa Latina begins gently with a lyrical Introit utilizing plainchant. From then on, drama is the driving force, notably in the longest movements, the Gloria and the Credo. The latter, perhaps overlong at 21 minutes, brings an unexpectedly internalized take on the central tenet of belief, with a degree of angst reflected in its uneasy dissonance. To reach the concluding optimistic major-key Alleluia in a Mass titled Pro pace, Sierra goes through some soul searching. In the meantime, the overtly Latin sections ring Bernstein-like bells (Latin as in South America, that is). Reviewing a disc of Sierra's symphonies in Fanfare 31:3, Peter Burwasser wrote of the Third Symphony: "I had the odd sensation of hearing a Caribbean composer aping the pseudo-Caribbean music of Bernstein." I felt the same: Sierra's Sanctus could have come out of Bernstein's Mass--not that there's anything wrong with that; the rhythmically catchy Sanctus is the most succinct and beguiling movement of this work. The two soloists have as much to do as the choir, if not more. They sing almost constantly throughout, helping to give the setting a "human face." This, plus the clear dramatic arc and the exciting orchestral textures all come together to produce an involving piece of music. It must make a tremendous impact when heard live. I have a number of problems with this recording. The primary one is the sound balance. In Naxos's usual way, there seems to be a narrow depth of field. A work with such large forces needs to open out when everyone is playing and singing at full steam, but instead, the sound becomes congested and muddy. Much of Sierra's distinctive texture is lost by mixing the percussion section too far back, so the Latin instruments make much less impact than they should. On the other hand, the soloists are recorded too close, which does them no favors. Webster's honeyed baritone begins to sound hectoring, and Murphy's slow vibrato becomes a major drawback. I found it irritating to listen to the soprano at forte and above, and we do hear a lot of her. To sum up, Sierra's Missa Latina is an interesting and potentially popular work. It was co-commissioned by the National Symphony Orchestra of Washington, D.C. I hope they will tape it sometime, because I'm afraid this CD fails to give us the whole picture. -- Fanfare, Phillip Scott, Jan-Feb 2010

Product Description

Commissioned by the National Symphony Orchestra of Washington DC, Roberto Sierra' Missa Latina "is remarkably organic in its expression: if it is music that sets out to be liked-perhaps loved-it is also a unified and, one suspects, deeply felt utterance

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars MSO & Chorus Stunning Grammy Nominated Recording! January 27, 2010
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
Missa Latina 'Pro Pace' composed by Roberto Sierra has stunning performances by the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, the MSO Chorus, with soloists soprano Heidi Grant Murphy and baritone Nathaniel Webster under the direction of Andreas Delfs. All performers are up to the challenges of Mr. Sierra's composition. Vital orchestral direction and playing throughout drives the piece to its affecting finish. Tonal beauty in the complex choral writing is present to the last note and Ms. Murphy and Mr. Webster give dramatic interpretations of the solo writing throughout. With its exciting rhythmic and tonal textures, Mr. Sierra's composition is sure to enter the orchestral/choral repertoire in short order. Highly recommended listening (and programming)!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Missa Latina, Grammy nominee January 21, 2010
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
This is an exciting new addition to the classical music scene. The recording was made from the national premiere of the work, in consultation with the composer. The chorus is outstanding. The Latin rhythms and wonderful harmonies make it great listening even if you are not into the classical literature. You've never heard a mass like this one.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful December 12, 2009
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
This is a masterpiece. Not as "Latin" as I expected, but contains interesting cross-rhythms. Well-performed, luscious music that would satisfy the yearnings of a classical music aficionado, spiritual listener, or one with more modern tastes.
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