Sierra: Bayoán/El Éxtasis de Santa Teresa


Peter Stewart, baritone (Bayoán)

Wonjung Kim, soprano (Marién)

Bronx Arts Ensemble Orchestra and Chorus

Guillermo Figueroa, conductor

Betty Baisch, chorus manager

El Éxtasis de Santa Teresa

Angelina Réaux, soprano

Bronx Arts Ensemble

Yehuda Gilad, conductor

PROGRAM NOTES - Roberto Sierra

The two works in this recording use texts by two important literary figures in the Spanish-speaking world: the Spaniard St. Teresa of Avila and the Puerto Rican Eugenio Maria de Hostos. My first encounter with St. Teresa was not in the realm of poetry, but rather through the fantastic rendition by the Italian sculptor Bernini. It is this vision of Bernini that really inspired me in 1997 to write El éxtasis de Santa Teresa (The Ecstasy of St. Teresa). In my music I wanted to reflect both the austere nature of the character of the saint and the lushness and sensuality of her poems, which often times imply in their imagery carnal rather than religious love. In the second and fourth movements, Prayer and Ecstasy, I use fragments of two of St. Teresa's most famous poems. The plain chant-like first movement, Introit, provides a contemplative background that stands in contrast to the religious and sensual character of the prayer that follows. Visión is a musical representation of the visions that mystics were known to have before going into a state of ecstasy. The work ends with a setting of the word Aleluya.

Eugenio Maria de Hostos' La peregrinación de Bayoán (The Pilgrimage of Bayoán) describes a spiritual journey in search of identity. The work was written during the time when Puerto Rico, Cuba and the Dominican Republic were still colonies under the Spanish crown. Although Hostos' words come from a distant past, their meaning still resonates very strongly. I selected excerpts from the novella, without intending to follow a plot and to represent all the ideas exposed in it. The search for identity and place in the world are relevant questions to me and many other people who live far away from their place of origin. In my oratorio Bayoán I wanted to explore those questions. The piece starts with lntroducción (TRACK 3) and the Descarga (TRACK 4) that portray the agitated spiritual quest of Bayoán. Intermezzo (TRACK 6) is a musical representation of the playful and innocent portrayal of Marién, the female character who in the next movement becomes an abstract representation both of the beloved and the homeland. To bring my own personal context I introduce in this movement (Marién, TRACK 7) music evocative of the Danza, that quintessential piano music of XIX century Puerto Rico. The Elegía (Elegy, TRACK 8) that closes the work leaves one with a sense of hope, but at the same time suggests that we are still searching for answers to Hostos' questions. La peregrinación de Bayoán is a new work composed in 2001 based on a previous work of the same title written in 1992.

El Éxtasis de Santa Teresa

Introito (TRACK 1)

Oracion (Prayer)

Vuestra soy, para Vos nací

¿Qué mandais hacer de mí?

Soberana Majestad, vuestra soy

¿Veis aquí mi corazón?

Yo le pongo en vuestra palma,

mi cuerpo, mi vida y alma,

Dulce Esposo y redención,

¿Que mandais hacer de mi?

Dadme muerte, dadme vida

que a todo le digo que sí.

¿Que mandais hacer de mi?

Dadme riqueza o pobreza,

dad consuelo o desconsuelo.

Dadme infierno o dadme cielo,

Vida dulce, sol sin velo,

¿Que mandais hacer de mi?

Vuestra soy, para Vos naci.

I am Yours, I was born for You.

What do You want to make of me?

Sovereign Majesty, I am Yours.

Do You see my Heart here?

I place it in Your palm,

my body, my life and soul,

Sweet Husband and Redeemer,

What do You want to make of me?

Give me death, give me life,

I shall say yes to them all.

What do You want to make of me?

Give me wealth or poverty,

give me comfort or distress.

Give me Hell or give me Heaven,

sweet life, unveiled sun,

What do You want to make of me?

I am Yours; I was born for You.

Visión (Vision) (TRACK 2)

Éxtasis / Aleluya (Ecstasy/Alleluja)

Si el amor que me tenéis,

Dios mío, es como el que os tengo

Decidme, ¿en qué me detengo?

o Vos, ¿en qué os detenéis?

Alma, ¿que queréis de mi?.


If the love You have for me,

my God, is like the one I have for You,

Tell me, what is holding me back?

Oh You, what is keeping You?

Soul, what do You want from me?



Introducción (TRACK 3)

Descarga (TRACK4)

Bayoán (TRACK 5)


Otra vez, otra vez. Oh Patria mía,

¡Cuantos dolores me cuestas!


Campos, cielo, patria...


Apenas sosegado mi corazón,

apenas calmadas las agitaciones

que la meditación de ese otro

mundo me ha causado

...y otra vez obligado a abandonarte


¿Porque me asusta la soledad?


Ah! si pudiera quedarme.

¿Porque vuelvo por segunda vez

a buscar lejos de mi patria lo que

no encontré en mi primera peregrinación?

¿Porque me empeño en conocer el mundo

y en hacerme conocer de el

si toda mi felicidad consistía

en vivir desconocido?

Yo sé que anhelo la dicha de ml patria,

yo sé que necesita de sus hijos

por qué solo los hijos son

desinteresadamente cariñosos,

yo sé que me avergonzaba de gozar del

sosiego que el suelo en que nací me da.

...y resolví alejarme de ml tranquilidad

y buscar la agitación la lucha y el dolor

por ser digno de ml patria

por hacerme oir del mundo,

por lograr en el el puesto que hoy no tengo...


...el viento nos acerca a tí

montañosa Higüey.


...las nubes del cielo y las del tiempo

no me impiden ver lo que ha pasado

y te veo desierta y solitaria

tu que al llegar los extranjeros

tenías pobladores que defendían tus playas

tus florestas tus breñas tus abismos

último amparo de la sencillez y la inocencia

dame la cólera que le dabas a tus hijos

su noble indignación su valor santo

lo que ellos con sus armas

lo haré yo con mi voz.


Campos, cielo, patria...


¡Estoy loco! ¿Que me está sucediendo?

¿Que tempestad me agita?

¿Que terrible convulsión me transfigura?


Once again, once again. Oh, my homeland,

How many pains you cause me!


Fields, sky, homeland...


Just when my heart was at peace,

just when the unrest caused by the thought of that

other world was subdued

...and once again I am forced to abandon you.


Why does solitude scare me?


Ah! If I could stay.

Why do I return

to search in faraway places, what

I could not find during my first pilgrimage?

Why do I strive to know the world

and to make myself be known,

if all my happiness consisted in being unknown?

I know that I long for my homeland,

I know that she needs her children

since only they can love her

without asking for anything in return,

I know that I shied away from enjoying the

tranquil peace offered by my native soil.

...I decided to abandon my peace of mind

in order to struggle and suffer,

to be worthy of my homeland,

to be heard by the whole world,

to achieve in it a place today I do not have...


...the wind draws us near you

mountainous Higüey.


...the clouds in the sky and in my mind do

not keep me from seeing what has happened,

and I see you deserted and lonely,

you, the one that when foreigners came

your people defended your shores,

your forests, your ravines, your mountains,

last shelter for the meek and the innocent,

give me the wrath that you gave your sons,

their noble indignation, their sacred courage,

what they did with their weapons

I will do with my voice.


Fields, sky, homeland...


I am mad! What is happening to me?

Which storm agitates me?

Which terrible convulsion transfigures me?

Intermezzo (TRACK 6)

Marion (TRACK 7)

Elegía (Elegy)(TRACK 8)


El dolor produce la felicidad

mi felicidad es la gloria

una gloria dolorosa, dificil, imposible.

¿Imposible? ¿Es imposible conseguir

la admiración y el respeto de los hombres

amando la justicia, buscando la verdad,

venerando la virtud?

Si es imposible en la vida

después de ella la muerte hace justicia...

Tendró un nombre...

Esa esperanza basta para sustituir

a la felicidad.


Campos, cielo, patria...


Tres amores distintos y uno solo.

Gloria, justicia, verdad.


Pain produces happiness

my happiness is glory,

a painful glory, difficult, impossible.

Impossible? Is it impossible to attain

admiration and respect from others

while loving justice, searching for truth,

worshiping virtue?

If it is impossible now,

afterwards death will make it right...

I will have a name...

That hope will suffice

as a substitute for happiness.


Fields, sky, homeland...


Three different loves in one.

Glory, justice, truth.


In recent years the music of Roberto Sierra has received much attention and has met with particular acclaim both in North America and Europe. In 1987 Sierra came to prominence when his first major orchestral composition, Júbilo, was performed at Carnegie Hall by the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra. His works have been performed by the orchestras of Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Atlanta, Houston, Minnesota, Dallas, Detroit, San Antonio and Phoenix, as well as by the American Composers Orchestra, New York Philharmonic, Los Angeles Philharmonic, National Symphony Orchestra, Kronos Quartet, Continuum, England's BBC Symphony, Royal Scottish National Orchestra, and at Wolf Trap, Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, Festival Casals, and France's Festival de Lille. Recent commissions include Con madera, metal y cuero for Evelyn Glennie, commissioned by the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Royal Scottish National Orchestra and the Casals Festival (the premiere was part of the BBC 20th Century Restrospective "Sounding the Century"); Cuentos, commissioned by Camerata de las Americas; Cuatro Versos, a cello concerto commissioned by Carlos Prieto; Fanfarria, aria y movimiento perpetuo for violin and piano commissioned by the Library of Congress to celebrate Copland's centennial; Concerto for Orchestra for the centennial celebration of the Philadelphia Orchestra, commissioned by the Koussevitzky Music Foundation and the Philadelphia Orchestra; and Fandangos for the National Symphony Orchestra In Washington DC.

Roberto Sierra was born in Puerto Rico where he pursued early studies at the Conservatory of Music and the University of Puerto Rico. After graduation, Sierra went to Europe to further his musical knowledge, studying first at the Royal College of Music and the University of London, and later at the Institute for Sonology in Utrecht. Between 1979 and 1982 he did advanced work in composition at the Hochschule für Musik in Hamburg under the renowned György Ligeti. In 1982 Sierra returned to Puerto Rico to occupy administrative posts in arts administration and higher education, first as Director of the Cultural Activities Department at the University of Puerto Rico, and later as Chancellor of the Puerto Rico Conservatory of Music. Throughout this period, he was vigorously engaged as a composer on the international scene.

His Salsa para vientos was a prize-winning work at the 1983 Budapest Spring Festival, and his

Suite won first prize at the Alienor Harpsichord Competition. In 1987 the Almeida Festival in London devoted an entire concert to his chamber works, and the event was recorded and broadcast by the BBC. In April 2000 Continuum presented a retrospective of Sierra's chamber works at Merkin Concert Hall in New York. Roberto Sierra's music may be heard on recently-released CDs by New World Records, Newport Classic, New Albion, ADDA, VRAS Productions, Musical Heritage Society, Koss Classics, CRI, BMG, Fleur de Son, and Dorian Records.

In 1989 Roberto Sierra became Composer-in-Residence of the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra. In addition to advising the MSO on American repertoire, Mr. Sierra contributed to the musical life of Milwaukee with a number of new works, including pieces for local chamber and choral ensembles, and for individual musicians. Roberto Sierra is currently teaching composition at Cornell University. During the 2000-2001 season Sierra was Composer-In-Residence with the Philadelphia Orchestra.


William Scribner, Executive/Artistic Director

The Bronx Arts Ensemble is that borough's most celebrated chamber music and orchestral performing group, presenting concerts throughout the Bronx which are both affordable and reflective of the diversity of its audiences. As Fordham's University's resident music ensemble, the BAE presents concerts at the Fordham Church, informal chamber programs and a free summer series. The Ensemble performs at The New York Botanical Garden, Riverdale YM-YWHA, the Russian Mission to the U.N. Residency in Riverdale, and at such historic sites as the Bartow-Pell Mansion and Van Cortlandt House. Its "Chamber Music In Great Homes" series presents music of all periods in landmark homes in the area. Free concerts are given each summer in Van Cortlandt Park, and an extensive educational program serves school children throughout New York City. Performing and teaching artists in all disciplines are provided by the BAE in public schools in programs funded by the United Way of New York City and NYC Dept. of Youth and Community Development, as well as the City Board of Education Project Arts.

The BAE is a winner of the NYC Arts & Business Council Encore Award for imaginative programming and service to the people of the city. Its recordings have been produced on a large number of labels and include the first CDs of works by Max Bruch, Meyer Kupferman, Louise Farrenc and Joseph Rheinberger. The BAC made the premiere recording of Roberto Sierra's chamber opera El Mensajero de Plata, following its first New York performance by the Ensemble at Hostos Center for the Arts & Culture in the Bronx.

El Éxtasis de Santa Teresa is dedicated to Bill Scribner and the BAE and was commissioned by the Bronx Arts Ensemble with funds provided by the Mary Flagler Cary Charitable Trust.

Bayoán is dedicated by the composer and conductor Guillermo Figueroa to the distinguished Puerto Rican educator and Hostos scholar José Ferrer Canales.

This recording is supported by funds from the National Endowment for the Arts, The Aaron Copland Fund for Music, Inc., New York City Dept. of Cultural Affairs Challenge Program, Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation, Mary Flagler Cary Charitable Trust and The Spingold Foundation, Inc.