The Breakers Pound

The Breakers Pound
(A Dance Suite for Harpsichord)
Dan Locklair

I. Prelude
IIa.Waltz / IIb. Rag
IIIa. Pavane / IIIb. Galliard
IV. Postlude

The Breakers Pound (A Dance Suite for Harpsichord) was commissioned by Barbara Harbach in 1985 and is dedicated to her. The form and concept of The Breakers Pound was inspired by the Stephen Sandy poem, Freeway. I am indebted to Stephen Sandy for this poem and for his permission to quote it here.


Wind swims the pines
a screech owl sleeps the sun,
fat trout of noon,
tail-swing answering branch-sway.

Dark waves totter in forest light,
trunks of shadow, cones.
Deep, the anemones bloom.

The Cat plows, fangjawed, a Hyster Roller
pleats the loam; stones clang
on drums. Steel.
Cement layers, barechested, approach
twelve yards a day.

The breakers pound.
(From Riding to Greylock
by Stephen Sandy
[Alfred A. Knopf, 1983]
Used with permission.)

Dualities present in The Breakers Pound, as well as other things, are a reflection of Freeway. Movements II and III consist of two paired dances each, with the Pavane and Galliard (IIIa and IIIb) being the only traditionally paired ones. Movements IIa and IIb are, respectively, a Waltz and a Rag. Movements I (Prelude) and IV (Postlude) also reflect a pairing, although they are separated in the suite. Their pairing is reflective of the “French Overture Style.” Whether or not these pairings and/or other technical devices are observed makes little difference. The main purpose of this suite is that it be enjoyed in the spirit that dances have always been enjoyed.

Dan Locklair
Winston-Salem, North Carolina