- Vestigios rituales, for 2 pianos
- Conjuros, songs for voice & piano
- Trio tropical, for violin, cello & piano
- Cinco Bocetos, for clarinet
- Glosa a la sombra, for mezzo-soprano, clarinet, viola & piano
- Descarga, for piano & 10 instruments
Roberto Sierra, born in Puerto Rico in 1953, has one of the most attractive compositional voices among contemporary academic composers in the U.S. His works are notable for their rhythmic vitality and for the strong lyrical impulse that underlies their thoroughly modern harmonic language. The chamber music in this collection was written relatively early in Sierra's career, between 1982 and 1991. New York-based new music ensemble Continuum performs his demanding works with rock-solid technique and a strong commitment to the music's expressive content. The works range in scope from a solo to an ensemble of piano and 10 instruments. "Cinco bocetos," for clarinet, is fully successful in that most treacherous genre of the extended solo for a single-line instrument. Its movements each have a strongly defined character and a compelling and engaging musical logic. "Descarga," for large ensemble, is an evocative tone poem with piano in which delicate, gauzy textures evolve into bursts of propulsive energy. "Vestigios rituales," for two pianos, performed by Continuum's founders Cheryl Seltzer and Joel Sachs, is a virtuosic tour de force with a viscerally charged rhythmic impact. The collection serves as an excellent introduction to Sierra's early work; Naxos would do well to continue to make his work available, particularly when performed at the high level it is here. The sound is clean and well balanced.