Reviews

Summer 2023
von Behren CD
Read a nice review of organist David von Behren’s new recording Psalm-Sonata and Suites, which includes Dan’s St. John’s Suite, at Voix des Arts. To learn more about the Suite.
 
 
 
 
 
 
Spring 2021
New Music for a New Organ
From The Organ, Spring 2021
…Dan Locklair’s masterly Four Tone Poems is a series of meditations on aspects of the Christian calendar: these four pieces, fully laid out in terms of structure and nicely varied in terms of tone colouration, could, I am sure, be performed separately at the suitable times of the year, but heard together – as on this disc – they make a most convincing summation of the work itself and of the programme it concludes.
 
 

February 2021
The Organ of St.Bartholomew's Church, Orford, Suffolk - Catherine EnnisFrom: https://landofllostcontent.blogspot.com/202|/02/
One of the treats on this album is American composers Dan Locklair’s ‘The peace may be exchanged.’ Presented as a ‘aria’ for organ, it features a solo stop supported by strings, creating a numinous and reflective mood. The work has street cred: it was
heard at the funeral of President Ronald Reagan and the inauguration of President Barack Obama.

This is a well-constructed program featuring music that is a step away from the pedestrian repertoire. Naturally, the Bach is ubiquitous, but the other pieces are well worth hearing. I made a couple of discoveries here including the Brahms and the Locklair. The Reger was also a highlight. I certainly hope to hear further releases from Catherine Ennis (that may have been recorded before her sad death) and/or the organ at St Bartholomew’s Church Orford.

From The American Organist, February 2021
Robert Parkins: Salome's Dance
Dan Locklair, composer in residence and professor of music at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, N.C., is recognized as one of this country’s leading composers. From Locklair’s many organ works, Parkins presents the premiere recording of the organ solo version made by the composer of In Memory-H.H.L., originally scored for string orchestra. It is a movingly tender piece written in honor of Hester Helms Locklair, the composer’s mother. Also recorded here for the first time is Locklair’s Noel’s Psalm (A Sonata for Organ), commissioned by Duke alumna Rebeccah Neff in memory of her brother, Noel J. Kinnamon, whose poem “Spring Planting: Psalm 65” inspired Locklair’s four-movement work. Each movement (Chaconne, Scherzo, Aria, Dance) utilizes a variety of Locklair’s trademark techniques and idioms to form an appealing new work (2018) that reflects each of the poem’s four stanzas.

January 2020
From the January/February 2020 issue of Fanfare Magazine:

Locklair Symphony No.2, “America”.1 Hail the Coming Day.2 Organ Concerto.3 Phoenix4 • 3Peter Mikula (org); 1, 4Kirk Trevor, 2, 3Michael Roháč, cond; Slovak Natl SO • Naxos 8.559860 (Streaming audio: 63:03) https://www.naxosmusiclibrary.com/catalogue/item.asp?cid=8.559860

When Wake Forest University composer Dan Locklair’s Second Symphony, “America,” was premiered in 2017 by the Western Piedmont Symphony, the North Carolina Classical Voice summed it up as “soon-to-be-a-hit.” I can understand why, and this release should help make it so. Locklair writes in a tonal idiom and composes without the sneaky embarrassment afflicting most contemporaries in the wake of a welcomely defunct dodecaphonic era.

Twelve-tone composition, after all, held a notorious stranglehold on new music premieres in America for decades. Beginning somewhere around 1950 it had an unavoidable effect on all composers, including those who disliked it. Even Leonard Bernstein and Howard Hanson felt at times impelled to insert tone rows in symphonies, lest they be thought insufficiently up to date. When choking audiences at last began to demand relief from a political correctness musicians irreverently termed “pluck and scratch,” it tended to come under the guise of “minimalism,” which as often as not waterboarded simple chords, repeating and rotating and chugging them along ad infinitum. We went from parched ears to nearly drowned. Another tactic, still very much with us, has been to make music melodic, yes, but harsh and metallic, as if screeching tunes through tin cans filled with nails could achieve originality. You don’t necessarily run from the concert hall. But you wouldn’t want to play most contemporary pieces for consolation the day your dog dies, either. In any case, Shostakovich usually did it better!

So I welcome Locklair’s Symphony No. 2 for sounding like the simple, brassy patriotic work it is, something which could have been written by a populist composer in the 1930s or 1940s. Each movement is based on a well-known tune, America the Beautiful for “Independence Day,” Taps for “Memorial Day,” and We Gather Together for “Thanksgiving.” The melodies are cleverly disguised at first and flower towards the end of each movement with a lovely simplicity. It reminds me of William Schuman’s popular New England Triptych, though it’s even gentler and ends quietly, or something by Morton Gould. Locklair’s style is bouncy and optimistic in the symphony and not significantly different in the other pieces. Hail the Coming Day celebrates the coming together of Winston and Salem, North Carolina and is subtly based on Hosanna. Phoenix is an expanded fanfare piece composed to celebrate the renovation of Union Theological Seminary’s James Memorial Chapel. The Organ Concerto is rare in not making any ugly noises. One appreciates Locklair’s restraint with the instrument. Its slow movement is both humorous and moving: based on a triad dedicated to God and to the reverse of God, spelled dog, given the fact that the composer’s beloved Sheltie was dying at the time he composed it. The composer’s notes are worth reading.

The performances here, under a Slovak organist, two conductors (one British, one Canadian), and a Slovak orchestra, are utterly winning and American-sounding in manner. Naxos has provided beautiful sound. It isn’t often that one can leave the concert hall humming happy tunes. Some may find Locklair’s style too optimistic, as if it were waiting for the Mormon Tabernacle Choir to kick in, but I don’t hold that against it. How often do composers bring us joyous music, after all?

Steven Kruger

From the January 2020 issue of BBC Music Magazine:

Dan Locklair, Symphony No. 2, etc. Slovak National Symphony Orchestra, Naxos 8.559860

Full-hearted music from the American composer in a disc of premiere recordings. Hail the Coming Day is a particular pleasure; the Concerto comparatively benign. (MB) – 3 stars

Diapason, Sept. 2019September 2019
THE DIAPASON – SEPTEMBER 2019 – REVIEWS
WWW.THEDIAPASON.COM
New Recordings
Dan Locklair: Gloria. Winchester College Chapel Choir and the Portsmouth Grammar School Chamber Choir, Malcolm Archer, conductor; Sospiri, Christopher Watson, conductor. Convivium Records compact disc CD 033. Available from: conviviumrecords.co.uk.

Lord Jesus, think on me (SATB and organ); The Isaiah Canticles (SATB divisi); Angel Song (SATB and organ); En natus est Emmanuel (SATB divisi with soprano and alto soloists); Gloria (SATB divisi, brass octet, and percussion); O sacrum convivium (SATB); Ubi caritas (unison and organ); Ave verum corpus (SATB divisi); St. Peter’s Rock (SATB, organ, and trumpet); Pater Noster (SATB divisi); Remembrance (SATB with brass soloist, organ, and trumpet); The Lord bless you and keep you (SATB with soprano soloist).

Dan Locklair (b. 1949), professor of music and composer-in-residence at Wake Forest University, is probably best known for his organ suite, Rubrics, a movement of which was used at President Ronald Reagan’s funeral. This compact disc features thirteen of his choral works sung by three different choirs with two conductors. Winchester College is a prestigious English independent school founded by William of Wykeham, Bishop of Winchester and Lord Chancellor of England, in 1382, partly as a feeder for his (then) New College, Oxford, founded in 1379. Portsmouth Grammar School is also a prestigious independent school founded rather more recently in 1732. The choirs of both institutions are conducted by Malcolm Archer (b. 1952), who is the director of chapel music at Winchester College, having previous been successively assistant organist of Norwich Cathedral and organist of Bristol, Wells, and St. Paul’s cathedrals. “Sospiri” is an ensemble predominately from the University of Oxford, conducted by Christopher Watson (b. 1969), director of music at St. Edmund Hall, Oxford. The recording took place in the Chapel of Keble College, Oxford, except for Gloria, which was recorded in Romsey Abbey. Both locations have excellent acoustics and exceptionally fine organs, but though we get to hear the 2011 Kenneth Tickell organ in Keble College Chapel, we unfortunately do not hear the historic 1858 Walker organ in the Abbey Church of St. Mary and St. Ethelflaeda in Romsey, since the track recorded there has an accompaniment of brass and percussion without organ.

The ethereal, atonal quality of the first piece, Lord Jesus, think on me, contrasts with the warmer and highly textured character of the first of the three Isaiah Canticles. The second canticle returns to the ethereal quality of the first track, but differs in there being considerable dynamic changes in the course of the canticle. The third canticle additionally makes several dramatic changes in tempo. The text of the fourth track, Angel Song, is of considerable interest. Pastor, abolitionist, and freethinker Moncure Daniel Conway (1832-1907) wrote the Christmas hymn, “Now let the angel-song break forth,” for inclusion in the Christmas 1862 issue of The Commonwealth magazine in celebration of Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation. John and P. J. Williams commissioned Dan Locklair’s setting for the choir of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Winston-Salem, North Carolina, and its organist John Cummins in 2014. It is another vigorous piece with an organ part of some complexity. En natus est Emmanuel is a beautiful lush unaccompanied anthem, using a Christmas text from Praetorius. It was written for and first performed by Bel Canto and the Greensboro Youth Chorus in North Carolina in 1999.

Gloria, the longest work included here, is the centerpiece of the compact disc, and the work from which it takes its title. It begins softly with a chant-like statement of the text accompanied by tubular bells, and gradually builds up into a massive sound accompanied by brass and percussion as the pace picks up and the procession of singers makes its way from the rear to the front of the building, then gradually slowing and dying away, then speeding up once more as it repeats the beginning of the text in a final climax at the end. It was commissioned by the Choral Art Society of Portland, Maine, who first performed it in 1999. Next follows a communion motet, O sacrum convivium, which is in some ways my favorite piece on the recording. Written in a slightly more traditional style than most of Dan Locklair’s works, it begins and ends quietly, almost imperceptibly, with a climax including soaring sopranos in the middle. This is followed by a unison plus organ setting of Ubi caritas in which effective use is made of contrasting men’s and women’s voices, chanting in such a way as to give a medieval feeling to the piece. Like Angel Song, Locklair wrote this piece for St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Winston-Salem.

We come next to another communion motet, Ave verum corpus, a fittingly somber unaccompanied setting of this rather somber anonymous medieval text, written for Dan Locklair’s former student Andrew Clark in celebration of his first year as director of choral activities at Harvard University. Sarah Rowley does an excellent job performing the very beautiful soprano solo. St. Peter’s Rock is a much livelier piece based on the text “Tu es Petra,” written to celebrate the opening of a new parish house at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in Charlotte, North Carolina, and also in memory of Dan Locklair’s uncle, Wriston Hale Locklair, a former chorister at St. Peter’s who was later on the staff of the Juilliard School in New York City. Pater Noster is a setting of the Lord’s Prayer in English, written for Gerre Hancock and the Men and Boys Choir of St. Thomas Church, Fifth Avenue, New York City. It has a rich and warm texture.

Dan Locklair wrote Remembrance for St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Winston-Salem, North Carolina, in memory of his parents. The Beatitudes from the Gospel of Saint Matthew in the King James Version form the text. The trumpet part and the bass solo, sung by George Parris, have a haunting quality. The piece ends massively on the organ. The final work, The Lord Bless You and Keep You, is again warm and rich in its texture. This time Bethany Horak-Hallett is the soprano soloist. Dan Locklair composed the anthem in 2008 and dedicated it to Jack Mitchener, artist-in-residence at Peachtree Road United Methodist Church, Atlanta, Georgia, and his wife Julia.

Dan Locklair is undoubtedly one of America’s leading choral composers, and it is interesting that a compact disc celebrating his music should have been produced in England rather than in the United States. As mentioned above, three separate choirs were involved, and the booklet does not state which ones were singing what. The singing, however, is uniformly excellent, and in particular, I have never heard school choirs that sounded this good before. I thoroughly recommend this compact disc.
−John L. Speller
Port Huron, Michigan

September 2019
From MusicWeb International
This CD is part of Naxos’ American Classics series, and features the works of Dan Locklair who is Composer in Residence and Professor of Music at the Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

At the outset let me say that all the music presented here is tonal and makes an immediate impact by virtue of its colourful orchestration and, in the “America” symphony, its tunes based on traditional patriotic songs. The symphony opens in a manner which immediately reminded me of Copland in rumbustious ‘cowboy’ mood, and the piece is clearly written for inclusion in concerts that celebrate the ‘ideal’ American life. Thus, the movements are entitled ‘Independence Day’, ‘Memorial Day’ and ‘Thanksgiving Day’, with well-known melodies associated with those holidays being central to each movement. The work is easy to enjoy thanks to these memorable tunes and the composer’s flair for appropriate orchestration.

For me the most interesting work on the CD is the three-movement Organ Concerto which, like PHOENIX and ‘Hail the coming day’, was composed as a commission. The second, Canto movement formed the genesis of the concerto, and its striking subtitle “To God and dog”, initially struck me as rather strange, but it turns out that it was composed with his beloved Shetland Sheep dog by his side, and this dog died in 2009. The movement “celebrates the sacred in all creation through the musical symbolism of the word ‘God’”, with those three letters forwards and backwards creating triads on which the movement is founded. The composer also introduces the 11th Century Plainsong melody ‘Divinum Mysterium’, and these three components of the movement generate a pleasing, largely contemplative design that rises to a climactic final section using the plainsong melody. The orchestration is for strings, woodwind and percussion, and of course, organ.

The two outer movements are very energetic and make use of the triad in their structure. The organ is prominent; indeed, the very opening of the symphony is most striking. I don’t think that the melodic material of the first movement is as distinguished as that of the slow movement, but then it is only 60% of the length. The last movement is a toccata that uses the works uniting triad with an energetic driving rhythm complete with organ cadenza leading to an exuberant conclusion.

PHOENIX (the capitals are used in its title) began life as a three-minute fanfare, but has since been expanded and now exists as a piece for full orchestra and organ. In it there is a dialogue between an off-stage brass ensemble and an identical one contained within the orchestra. As the work continues, the dialogue envelops the entire orchestra. The centre of the work is a stately processional that leads to a triumphant conclusion for the full orchestra.

By far the shortest piece on this CD is the five minute “Hail the coming day”, described as a festive piece for orchestra. It was composed to celebrate the history of the townships of Winston and Salem and their eventual coming together to form a unified town. It is a pleasant piece in five short sections in which the composer seeks to illustrate the commercial and industrial history of the two places as well as the early settlers, some of whom were of Moravian ancestry who were particularly fond of brass bands. Their musical heritage forms a part of the work when the composer uses a traditional Moravian melody.

All in all, this is a very enjoyable CD. I’m interested to see that a Professor of music, in an American University, feels no need to write dodecaphonic music, and I take that to indicate that the serial hegemony which prevailed for so long in Western Universities, has now been laid to rest.

The recording is a good one, although I sometimes feel that the thud of heavy percussion is rather clouded. The orchestra is newish, formed of members of other orchestras in Bratislava, and they play well, although I think that the strings sound rather thin. The booklet is well presented with thorough notes by the composer.

Jim Westhead

From Records International:
Description: Locklair’s conservative yet appealing idiom, an offshoot of the tonal American symphonic tradition, with an emphasis on the celebratory and uplifting, is shown to good advantage in these attractive works, as it was on 09J076 more than a decade ago. The symphony draws on melodies associated with three American holidays of historical significance – Independence Day (America the Beautiful), Memorial Day (Taps), and Thanksgiving (the Thanksgiving hymn ‘We Gather Together’) in a bold, colorful pageant celebrating our nation. The original version of PHOENIX was written for the re-opening of a renovated chapel and was written to evoke Renaissance brass antiphony, with exchanges between spatially positioned brass ensembles and the orchestra in the stirring outer processionals, which bracket a softer, meditative section. The Organ Concerto begins with the obligatory post-Poulenc opening organ fanfare with timpani, followed by stately chordal exchanges between organ and orchestra. This is supplanted by a lively dancing section, a chaconne in which the theme itself is varied in the central part, followed by a return of the grand opening material. According to Locklair, the slow movement celebrates God’s creation, especially in the form of a beloved canine companion of the composer’s, who died during the work’s composition, symbolized by the triad G-B-D, which permeates the whole work. The organ introduces a gentle, melodious theme, which is then paired with an 11th-century plainsong melody as the movement crescendoes to a grandly exultant climax before a final gentle statement of the main theme in a haze of string harmonics. The lively finale, Toccata, has a continuous rhythmic pulse and something of the circus about it, the solo instrument sometimes sounding like a fairground organ. The cadenza is for pedals alone (itself a good circus trick), leading to a final exuberant romp to the finish line. Hail the Coming Day is “A festive piece” in honor of the composer’s hometown of Winston-Salem, SC, in sections that variously evoke the Industrial Revolution and the hymns of early Protestant settlers. Peter Mikula (organ), Slovak National Symphony Orchestra; Kirk Trevor, Michael Roháč.

August 2019
From Gapplegate Classical-Modern Music Review
Dan Locklair (b. 1949) has a pleasing way about him. There is something of a present-day Copland feel to him in his fondness for paraphrasing Americana sorts of themes at least most certainly in his Symphony No. 2 “America” (Naxos 8.559860). The program at hand is well performed and contains the symphony, two shorter works plus the “Concerto for Organ and Orchestra.”

It is homespun mainstream–the sort anyone might like and there is little exactly that would define it as Modern except that it is not “Classical” or “Romantic”.” It is tonal-pleasing, reminding you perhaps of the things you might hear on a good contemporary movie soundtrack or as done by a wind band of a superior sort Vittorio Giannini comes to mind but not in any way I can pinpoint here. Nobody would take offense at this music and it is enjoyable, very much so.

The “Symphony No. 2 ‘America’” is in the form of a Holidays Symphony–with a movement each for Independence Day, one for Memorial Day and one for Thanksgiving. “America the Beautiful” is paraphrased a good deal at first. We hear “Taps” and then not surprisingly the hymn “We Gather Together (To Ask the Lord’s Blessing)” for the Thanksgiving movement.
The other works are less obvious I suppose but pleasing. He is inventive in ways the most rudimentally musical layman could no doubt understand. So good for that as far as extending the music is concerned!

I enjoy this program without necessarily putting some seal of “masterpiece” on it all. It pleases me. And the first time through you get the whole thing, pretty much. It is not like you are going to open up a great deal of vistas on listen number 10. It is what it is and that “is” happens to be fine and dandy, well done. Lovers of Americana will be right there I imagine. I might rather hear Charles Ives personally, but I do not want to turn this into a horse race. Nicely done. Nice music. And that includes the “Concerto for Organ!”

From AllMusic.com
American composer Dan Locklair teaches at Wake Forest University in North Carolina. His works, many of them choral or vocal, have been widely popular, and the commercial success of this Naxos-label selection of his music demonstrates the breadth of his appeal. The titular Symphony No. 2 (“America”) is an attractive, Coplandesque work ideally suited for summer symphony concerts, with the tune America the Beautiful effectively alluded to but not directly quoted, and there are two shorter, similarly festive orchestral works. Most distinctive is the Concerto for organ and orchestra of 2010. Locklair began his career as a church organist and has continued to perform on the instrument, winning a Composer of the Year award from the American Guild of Organists in 1996. It’s easy to hear why: his treatment of the organ in concerted textures is unique. Only rarely does he oppose the sounds of the organ and orchestra in the classical formation. Instead, he uses the organ’s wide variety of tone colors as a kind of extension of the orchestra, to delightful effect. Sample the slow movement, titled “Canto (to God and dog),” which is lyrical and almost psychedelic; the tonal palette of the concerto is wider than in the other works on the album. In the concerto’s finale, Locklair’s brasses come out, and the organ reaches full power. There’s nothing wrong with the organ at the Concert Hall of the Slovak Radio in Bratislava, played here by Peter Mikula, but the work is strong enough that one might hope to hear it played on one of the great organs of Europe or the U.S. The performances by the Slovak National Symphony Orchestra under Kirk Trevor are very strong; Locklair, a university composer, is good at giving every instrumentalist a line, and the orchestral soloists never flag. The brass and percussion in the organ concerto finale are especially impressive. Recommended.

October 2018
From the October 2018 issue of The Journal of the Association of Anglican Musicians:
Dan Locklair has emerged as one of the most significant American composers of church music in recent years, and it is on the strength of anthems such as this that he has earned this reputation. The organ introduction is redolent of early Locklair organ works like “The Peace may be exchanged” from Rubrics and “…beside the still waters” from Windows of Comfort. Rather than residing solely within this one musical vein, however, the anthem blossoms with a sophistication and variegation beyond the scope of these earlier character pieces. While the rhythmic motion is dominated by quarter-note beats, intermittent appearances of 3/8 measures interrupt the pacing, preventing the work from ever plodding. Similarly, Locklair explores a variety of tonal centers, moving smoothly from one key area to another. Locklair harnesses this rhythmic and harmonic flexibility to evocatively illuminate the sweeping phrases of Edmund Sears’s Christmas carol. Sears, a nineteenth-century Unitarian minister, is most remembered as the author of It Came upon the Midnight Clear. Both poems share an epic tone, while avoiding any Romantic-era grandiose overstatement. Locklair’s anthem matches the nobility of the poetry with gestures that are at turns intimate, then majestic. Throughout, he makes use of the full resources of the organ as an equal partner in painting the text. One passage even calls for a harp stop “when available” to undergird voices (the piece was, after all, written for Locklair’s home parish of St. Paul’s in Winston-Salem, with its famous E. M. Skinner organ). The anthem concludes in a surprising harmonic destination with a soprano solo, the composer’s written preference for a boy soprano placed antiphonally to the full choir, and organ cadencing in a rich A-flat major.

Read a wonderful new American Organist review of Dan’s Gloria CD from Convivium Records.

March 2018
Read a Classical Voice NC Review of the World Premiere of Dan’s Noel’s Psalm (A Sonata for Organ)

October 2017
Read a wonderful new Classical Voice North Carolina review of the “stunning premiere performance of North Carolina composer Dan Locklair’s soon-to-be-a-hit Symphony No. 2, America,” performed on October 7 by John Gordon Ross and the Western Piedmont Symphony, at http://cvnc.org/article.cfm?articleId=8659.

August 2017
New CD review from The Choral Scholar, Spring 2017:

Dan Locklair: Gloria
Sospiri, Christopher Watson, conductor
Winchester College Chapel Choir and The Portsmouth Grammar School Chamber
Choir, Malcolm Archer, conductor
Convivium Records
CR003 (2016; 73’31”)

The new compact disc Gloria, featuring the choral music of American composer Dan Locklair (b. 1949), presents fresh recordings of many of the composer’s works. Featuring multiple British choirs, including the Winchester College Chapel Choir, the Portsmouth Grammar School Chamber Choir, and Sospiri, the album also is a good representation of contemporary British choral performance practice and style. Three choirs were combined to record these pieces, with adult women and children’s voices combined together.

For the uninitiated, it may be helpful to provide a summary of Dan Locklair and describe his musical style. Locklair is from North Carolina and was educated at Union Theological Seminary where he earned a Master of Sacred Music degree. He also earned a D.M.A. from the Eastman School of Music. He currently serves as Professor of Music at Wake Forest University in North Carolina. Unlike many American composers, Locklair’s choral music has successfully penetrated the European market and his works are sung broadly across both North American and many European countries. A cursory listen to his choral works quickly explains why this is: his music is of such high craft and sophistication that is transcends any sense of a regional or national sound. Locklair’s musical style can be best described as eclectic. Elements of Howells and Pärt are offset by dancing syncopated dance rhythms moments later. To describe his harmonic language in the most banal of terms, his music is tonal and triadic with many added sixths, major sevenths, ninths, augmented fourths, and unresolved dissonances.
He never lingers too long in any key, but shifts often, always providing fresh colors.

The highlight of the album is the lengthy Gloria, an extended work for choir, brass octet, and percussion ensemble. It was premiered in 1999 by the Choral Art Society in Portland, Maine.
Clocking in at a little over fourteen minutes on this recording, this is a significant contribution to the repertoire. Opening with a brief fanfare for brass and percussion, the choir begins singing
from the rear of the performance space, perhaps evoking the song of the angels singing from afar. Beautiful homophony gives way to the middle dancing section as the opening text is repeated. “Delightful” would be a fitting adjective for this portion. The middle, reflective section, beginning with the text “Domine Deus” evokes the ethereal, minimalistic style of Estonian composer Arvo Pärt. Gloria builds to a thrilling climax of brass and divisi choir and would serve as a wonderful addition to a Christmas program for a collegiate or skilled community choir. As with much of Locklair’s choral music, sustained high notes may tire the sopranos.

The rest of the album is dedicated to Locklair’s anthems and motets. They will be discussed briefly in the order they appear on the recording. Lord Jesus, Think on Me opens the album, a new setting of the traditional hymn by church father Synesius of Cyrene. This anthem is set for SATB and organ. Dissonances in the treble voices of a minor second again strongly evoke Pärt. Locklair alternates between treble and lower voices for contrast and perhaps to emphasize rhetorically the need for all of humanity to beg for God’s mercy. The anthem builds to a rousing, Forte climax via modulation and rising tessituras supported by sustained chords in the organ. Minor intonation infractions by treble voices in the children can be noted and forgiven.

A set of three unaccompanied anthems follow, The Isaiah Canticles: Surely, It is God Who Saves; Seek the Lord; Arise, Shine, for your Light has Come. Although any of these three anthems could be sung individually they work well when sung as set. Set for SATB divisi, these works would challenge any skilled choir to perfectly tune the cluster chords and sing the syncopations correctly. But perhaps most challenging of all is the breath control needed for sustained chords. Arise, Shine in particular pushes the sopranos to the extreme—at times it sounds as though they might snap under the pressure of the high notes. But if your choir has the horses for this race, these canticles could be astounding and thrilling in a concert.

Angel Song, for SATB and organ, is one of two Christmas pieces on the album. A highly chromatic organ introduction gives way to the choir “breaking forth” the song of the angels as they announce the good news of Christ’s birth. As with most of Locklair’s music on this album, little is done in small proportions. The anthem has great breadth and length, prolifically moving through the text in a through-composed style, united by motives. The second Christmas track is the motet En Natus Est Emmanuel for SSAATTBB and SA soli, unaccompanied. This work is much more placid and introspective, emphasizing color through added-tone chords. While the choir sustains rich, gorgeous, colorful chords, the SA duets create an effect of angelic innocence and wonder.

O Sacrcum Convivium is a “serene” setting of this traditional communion text. For SATB voices, the gentle rhythms, slower tempo, homophonic texture, and general consonance make this one of Locklair’s more accessible works. A skilled church choir could sing this motet. Ubi Caritas is for unison voices and organ, but it is not necessarily an easy or simple work. Sudden key changes, chromaticism, and prevalent use of the augmented fourth may challenge some choirs. Also, though no mention of source material is mentioned in the liner notes, this reviewer heard clear melodic allusions to the Dies Irae chant tune, a strange and interesting association with this text. Ave Verum Corpus, SATB divisi, might be described as a signature example of Locklair’s unaccompanied choral music: generally homophonic, added-note chords, sustained singing, high tessitura for sopranos, and building to a loud climax proceeded and followed by soft serenity. Pater Noster, the Latin setting of the Lord’s Prayer, is very similar to Ave Verum in regards to style.

St. Peter’s Rock is one of the most important works of the album, a brilliant anthem contrasting solo trumpet, organ, and SATB. This work alone includes both seamless key and meter changes that provide effective transitions between contrasting sections. Idiomatic grace notes embellish the melodies in a way that is both pleasing and effortless. Another interesting contrast used by Locklair is that of text; he sets the Latin text against English from the Gospel of Matthew, Genesis, and the psalms, creating a truly dramatic and theologically rich work. St. Peter’s Rock ends with a loud climax and feels satisfying in its conclusion. Highly recommended.

In Remembrance, for SATB, organ, and organ, is a memorial anthem based on the Beatitudes. Much more strophic than the other tracks, this work places more emphasis on the importance of the text. A simple chordal style makes In Remembrance accessible to most choirs.

The Lord Bless You and Keep You is the only miniature anthem/motet on the album. Less than two minutes long, it is a simple and effective anthem suitable for a concert or for
liturgical use. Moderate ranges and undivided SATB voices make it an easier work.There is no ego in this piece, but simply an honest and sincere musical blessing.

—Jonathan Campbell

June 2017
Lovely new review from the July/August 2017 issue of American Record Guide:

Dan Locklair: Choral Pieces – Lord Jesus Think on Me; Isaiah Canticles; Angel Song; En Natus Est Emanuel; Gloria; 0 Sacrum Convivium; Ubi Caritas; Ave, Verum Corpus; St Peter’s Rock; Pater Noster; Remembrance; The Lord Bless You and Keep You – Jeremy Cole, org; Winchester College Choir; Portsmouth Grammar School Chamber Choir/ Malcolm Archer; Sospiri/ Christopher Watson – Convivium 33 – 74 minutes

Here is something new-American choral music recorded by English choirs. Dan Lock­lair is a prominent composer who has written numerous works for nearly every medium: orchestral, chamber, instrumental, dramatic, choral, piano, and organ. This is a selection of his sacred choral pieces, both a cappella and accompanied, with the large-scale Gloria for choir, brass and percussion as the centerpiece of the program.

The Winchester and Portsmouth choirs are composed of high school age students and handle the technical and,musical demands with ease. Sospiri is a professional ensemble directed by Christopher Watson and is heard in five of the selections. The writing ranges from the virtuosic and contrapuntal in the Glo­ria to the touching simplicity of the opening ‘Lord Jesus, think on me’ and concluding ‘The Lord bless you and keep you: The music is beautifully written, deeply expressive of the texts; and the choirs give superlative perform­ances. Extensive notes on the music and texts. – DELCAMP

More about the CD at https://conviviumrecords.co.uk/releases/dan-locklair-gloria-sacred-choral-works/

February 2017
New Association of Anglican Musicians Journal CD Review and Interview with Dan.

October 2016
Read a Cross Rhythms review of Dan’s Gloria CD.

August 2015
The Diapason published a review of Angel Song for SATB chorus and organ

Dan Locklair – Angel Song, SATB and organ, Subito Music Publishing, 91480720, $3.00 (D)

Locklair’s setting of an expressive poem by Moncure Daniel Conway is subtitled, ‘A Christmas Anthem.” The organ part; on three staves, begins with a rhythmic solo, leading to a unison choral opening on the text ‘Now let the angel song bring forth!” There are several musical effects including organ tremolos,varied dynamics for the choir (Sfz-pcresc), and repeated chords on contrasting manuals that add to the exuberant spirit of the music. The opening choral theme’ recurs several times throughout the setting, Lovely music!

December 2014
Classical Voice North Carolina has published a November 2014 review of Tapestries; Choral Music of Dan Locklair.

October 2014
The Journal of the Association of Anglican Musicians published a review of Dan Locklair’s Creator of the Stars of Night for SATB and Organ

“Locklair’s signature slowly-oscillating texture, used in many of his solo organ works, is grafted onto a rhythmically regular form of the plainsong Conditor alme siderum.

As the choir enters, the chant is chromatically altered into a brighter version outside the mode. At the melody’s caesura, Locklair includes the “missing” accidentals to restore the mode. This vacillation between the expected notes of the mode and jarring deviations from it is singularly beautiful. The organ accompaniment follows its own path for the most part with increasing fragments of the melody Picardy as counterpoint. Even without part divisions, the expansive texture and high tessituras suggest large choral forces. Long sustained lines and novel harmonic progressions make this languorous anthem somewhat difficult, yet it is an impressive addition to Advent repertoire.”

October 2014
Journal of the Association of Anglican Musicians

Fanfare Magazine published a review of Tapestries: Choral Music of Dan Locklair. in the November/December 2014 issue.

September 2014
The Journal of the Association of Anglican Musicians published a review of Tapestries: Choral Music of Dan Locklair.

January 2014
The American Organist published reviews of Dan’s St. John’s Suite, Glory and Peace and O Festive Day in its February 2014 issue.

May 2012
The American Organist Review by James Hildreth of Organ Music of Dan Locklair CD – Reprinted with the kind permission of The American Organist

July/August 2011
Choir & Organ Review of Organ Music of Dan Locklair CD

A former American Guild of Organists Composer of the Year, Dan Locklair’s welcome profile on disc continues apace with this compendium of six popular concert works…

Choir &organ Review July/August 2011

April 2011

MusicWeb International Review of Organ Music of Dan Locklair CD:

The CD opens as it ends, with superb music and musicianship…The Salem Sonata (is)…A thoughtful and stirring piece, with a glorious ending worthy of Widor, very beautifully played by Keiser…though very simple, the (Phoenix) Processional is a rousing work…On the evidence of this disc, a follow-up CD by Loft Recordings would be doing lovers of sublime organ music a good deed.
Access the complete review

March 2011
Classical Voice North Carolina Review of Organ Music of Dan Locklair CD:
“This is truly beautiful music, and one could not ask for a finer rendering of it than Keiser’s. The sound quality is excellent…begin your holiday shopping early with copies of this for your music-loving friends.”
Access the complete review

Read The American Organist’s review of Love Came Down at Christmas for SATB a cappella choir with optional keyboard accompaniment and The Journal of the Association of Anglican Musicians review of The Spacious Firmament for SSAATTBB chorus here.

October 2010
» Read a Journal of the Association of Anglican Musicians Review of the Loft Recordings CD – The Music of Dan Locklair

July 2010
» Rubrics (IV. “The Peace May be Exchanged”) as part of Opus 76 (Alan Morrison at Verizon Hall, Philadelphia), Alan Morrison, organ (ACA Digital CD)

» Two reviews of The Music of Dan Locklair

June 2010
Sequenza21

Review of Opus 76 – Alan Morrison, organist

“The Peace May Be Exchanged” from Dan Locklair’s Rubrics (1989) takes its name from a sentence in the Service of Thanksgiving for the Birth of a Child. The soft diapison color reflects the mood of quiet happiness at this point in the service. As we often have occasion to marvel, a gigantic instrument such as the modern concert organ, whose full sonic output can be measured (literally) in horsepower, is often most eloquent when speaking in a soft voice.”

Read the complete review.

ClassicalNet
Review of American Music from St. Thomas – Judith Hancock, organ
Saint Thomas Choir of Men and Boys, Orchestra of St. Luke’s/Gerre Hancock

Having heard some of Dan Locklair’s organ music, I have begun to explore his other work. So far, wonderful pieces jostle with the nothing-much, certainly the case here. I’ve got nothing against Locklair’s setting of the Pater Noster, but I forget it a minute after hearing it. Not so with the Brief Mass, a lively, heartfelt work, written on the death of a colleague. Locklair keeps his ideas simple and memorable. The interest of the work derives from a sophisticated sense of harmony and rhythm. The Credo particularly impresses me. Essentially a political checklist, that part of the Mass always struck me as the hardest to set expressively. The text breaks down into atomistic bits, as one tenet of the faith follows another almost willy-nilly. Beethoven solved the problem in his Missa Solemnis by elaborating each bit almost to the breaking point and elevating disunity to a structural principle in the work. However, Locklair’s setting makes overall rhetorical sense and drives toward the finish.”

Read the complete review.

May 2010
Choral Music Reviews

The Lord Bless You and Keep You and Lord Jesus, Think on Me reviewed in the Journal of the Association of Anglican Musicians.

» Organists’ Review, November 2009
Organworks! 8 reviewed:

The last piece in the collection, Dance the Joy! by Dan Locklair, tests security of rhythm and pulse in a constantly changing metre … Players who are familiar with Rubrics will not be disappointed by the exuberance and rhythmic vitality needed to bring off Dance the Joy!

March 2009

» Church Music Quarterly Review
Review of Dan Locklair: Organ Works

January 2009

» Classical Voice North Carolina
– Review of Dan Locklair’s Naxos Symphony of Seasons CD

“All the orchestral compositions included on Symphony of Seasons reveal a composer of great originality and imagination who is the possessor of admirable compositional technique. He has as well an appreciation of vivid instrumental colors and their effectiveness in expressing ideas and emotions…I recommend that those who love inspired orchestral music will not wait to acquire this CD of which North Carolinians and Americans as a whole may be justifiably proud.”

Access the complete review

May 2008

» The American Organist, May 2008 
James Hildreth’s review of the Naxos American Classics CD, Dan Locklair: Symphony of Seasons

“One of America’s most distinguished active composers, Dan Locklair uses basic materials in creative and imaginative ways, producing music that is distinctive, fresh, effective, colorful, and accessible. This fine recording offers the opportunity to experience the symphonic side of Locklair’s creativity.”

April 2008

» The Diapason, April 2008
James McCray’s review of Remembrance (for SATB chorus, divisi, organ and trumpet):

“Using the famous Matthew 5 text of the Beatitudes, Locklair’s sensitive work is a tribute to the memory of his parents.”

February 2008

» Read Reviews of Dan Locklair’s Naxos Symphony of Seasons CD

WSKG Radio
Sequenza21
Music Web International
Wake Forest Newspaper

» The Diapason, February 2008
– Review of his Albany Chamber Music CDs

“Perhaps it is not strictly within our purview, but it is important and beautiful music by a foremost American composer. Many movements are based upon a painting or-poem, and welcome notes are written by Locklair giving us the why and wherefore, which-is most helpful. The concluding Constellations is a concerto for organ and percussion in tour movements, rippingly well-played ‘by George Ritchie and Albert Rometo. There is much variety in the selections, for example, Dream Steps, a dance suite for flute, viola and harp, is ‘…to be danced, especially in small spaces, such as art galleries, according to the composer. Don’t miss this wonderful and imaginative music.'”

-Charles Huddleston Heaton
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

November 2007

» The American Record Guide, November/December 2007
Philip Greenfield’s review of Sonata da Chiesa (for flute and organ):

“Organist Scott Carpenter is joined by flutist Laura Dangerfield for two movements from the Sonata da Chiesa by Dan Locklair, a professor at nearby Wake Forest University whose music I really like.”

September 2007

» Choir & Organ (England), September/October 2007
Peter Dale’s review of Lord Jesus, Think on Me (for SATB chorus and organ):

“Dan Locklair also has the gift of simplicity, and the wit to distinguish it from the accidents of naivety and the tediousness of the obvious.”

» Winston-Salem Journal (NC), 16 September 2007
Ken Keuffel’s review of the Naxos American Classics CD, Dan Locklair: Symphony of Seasons:

“The compositions on Locklair’s “American Classics” CD will not shock in the way that thorny, hard-to-digest music often does. Is that Pandering? I think not. Locklair always comes up with something fresh, challenging and appealing within the framework of tonality and other time-honored traditions. And his command of craft never falters even as he takes on a wide range of genres….

July 2007

» The Diapason, July 2007
Peter Hardwick’s review of the Thomas Trotter CD, Sounds Phenomenal:

“Rubrics (1988) by Locklair (b. 1949) is one of the most frequently played organ works by an American composer. Its success is partly due to its style, perhaps, which has been described as ‘contemporary music with a friendly face.’ Indeed, although it is dissonant and modern, the music is warm and easy to enjoy.”

April 2007

» The Virginian-Pilot, March 2007
– Review of performance as part of the Virginia Festival of American Voices

“Locklair, composer-in-residence at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, N.C., writes tonal music that gets a contemporary sound through light dissonance and rhythmic complexity.”

“His healthy sense of humor came through in “Break Away!” and “The Mysterious Cat.”

“With the chorale members spread out on the side balconies, Locklair’s “Tapestries” mixed piano and handbells with a variety of vocal effects in a fresh, interesting way.”

“The Bel Canto Company from Greensboro, N.C., has done a lot of Locklair’s music and, in addition to bringing his cats to life, gave a warm sound to his more traditional “Nunc Dimittis.”

December 2006

» Classical Voice North Carolina, December 2006
Review of From East to West: A Festival of Carols by Indianapolis Symphonic Choir, Eric Stark, Artistic Director

“This is an admirable collection of some unusual carols, admirably sung by an outstanding choir and variously accompanied, but the chief attraction for Tar Heels may well be the title track, “From East to West,” composed in 2003 by Dan Locklair, distinguished Composer in Residence at Wake Forest University. Locklair’s choral uc0 u150 and organ u150 works continue to impress, and this stirring work, which is among his very best, sets the tone for the rest of the recorded program. Its disc-mates are of comparable worth and beauty, and the recording serves as a fine reminder that there is great choral singing all over this land.”

September 2006

» The Diapason — Review of Salem Sonata (Raven CD OAR 700)

“This Raven compact disc is a recording of the dedication recital (of the rebuilt Tannenberg organ at Old Salem Village, North Carolina) that Peter Sykes played on March 18, 2004.”

“The high point of this dedicatory recital is, of course, Dan Locklair’s Salem Sonata, specially composed to celebrate the restoration of the large Tannenberg organ. It is divided in to four movements, headed, “To thee our cordial thankfulness,” “Hallowed be thy name,” “We owe thee thankfulness and praise,” and “Let his work your pleasure be.” Al four movement are founded on chorale melodies that would have been played on the Tannenberg organ before it was taken down and stored in 1910. The rich textures and warm harmonies remind me in many ways of the three Hindemith sonatas…”

“This is an excellent recording and a “must” for anyone interested in exploring America’s 18th-century organ heritage. The repertoire is varied and well played and Dan Locklair’s Salem Sonata alone is worth the purchase price.”

» The Gramophone, March 2006
Review of American Music from Saint Thomas (KOCH KIC CD 7567)

“Dan Locklair, composer-in-residence at Wake Forest University, writes in a conservative tonal idiom, but his music is fluent, well crafted and quite attractive. The Brief Mass opens with a soothing, mystical Kyrie with some artful dissonance, spiced by a sudden upward leap at 2’40” with the entry of boys’ voices. The Gloria is cast in a more syncopated, even jaunty, style reflecting its rejoicing quality. There are nimble solo turns and much effective contrast between high and low voices, with the trebles detached to soar at the “Cum Sancto Spiritu”. The Credo has a natural, conversational feel, while the Sanctus and Agnus Dei strike the right consolatory glow. Locklair’s Pater Noster offers a similarly lovely, dark-hued inspiration.”

» American Record Guide, March 2006
Review of American Music from Saint Thomas (KOCH KIC CD 7567)

“Here the incomparable (at least in this country) St. Thomas Choir of men and boys presents an inspiring and beautifully sung program of mostly sacred music from three leading American composers.”

“I first discovered Dan Locklair’s (b 1949) striking choral music at a memorable Piccolo Spoleto concert in Charleston. Choirs everywhere are discovering him, and I’ve been gratified to find his music in quite a few collections…Here he offers his compelling a cappella Brief Mass, but don’t confuse it with a “missa brevis”, as it contains a Credo movement. Written for up to eight parts, this is a shimmering and skillfully developed marvel of structural economy, chock-full of cotnrasting moods, sonic textures, and musical ideas. Riches from Locklair continue with “Pater Noster”, powerful and touching motet dedicated to this choir.”

“Locklair…doesn’t “write down” to anybody, and these gifted boys (along with their older colleagues) handle his often complex rhythms and dissonance-laced harmonies with technical aplomb.”

» FMusic Web International (UK), March 2006
Review of American Music from Saint Thomas

“The site has reviewed Dan Locklair’s orchestral music before now. Here we hear his Brief Mass for double chorus a cappella. It is beautifully laid out and performed with every indication of scrupulous care. The idiom is plain and unadorned yet with the spiritual North fixed firmly in Medieval England. The music reminded me of the clearer less densely harmonic moments in Herbert Howells’ church music. Then again the life and rhythmic surge of this music recalls the choral writing of the Welsh composer William Mathias and of Geoffrey Bush. The AMENs in the Credo sound as if they have been written by a composer who has heard the AMENs in Janacek’s Glagolytic Mass. The sweetly-spun rafter-ringing Sanctus links with John Rutter’s Gloria and Requiem. It is a lovely piece and should be taken up by cathedral and church choral directors the world over. Locklair’s Pater Noster is in much the same accessible style.”

“…the Locklair has the makings of a modern classic.”

» Classical Voice North Carolina, March 2006
Review of American Music from Saint Thomas

“This fine addition to the discography of American choral music encompasses performances of a few premier American composers of somewhat similar middle-of-the-road romantic compositional style. Piston and Thompson were both born near the end of the 19th century. Locklair (b.1949), Composer in Residence and Professor of Music at Wake Forest University, is possibly at the zenith of his creativity — hopefully, he has much more to say to us.”

“His Brief Mass (the ordinary, sung in Latin, a cappella) makes considerable use of the highly symbolic number “3”. Much of it is scored for double chorus. The Kyrie brings to my mind a monk on the floor, face down, with his arms outstretched in the form of a cross. It is a plea for mercy that demands nothing and offers all. The Gloria is a stand up piece, full of praise and thoughtful thanksgiving. The Credo is a statement of faith, much of it chant-like, giving meaning to the elements of belief. The Sanctus-Benedictus takes us beyond ourselves with ethereal music ascending like incense. And the Agnus Dei reminds us of the innocent Lamb and the suffering that is the source of mercy and peace. The choir sings with the excellent intonation and control that is necessary to perform the piece convincingly.”

“Jesus said to his disciples, “When you pray, pray like this….” Locklair’s Pater Noster (The Lord’s Prayer) is a model of how this prayer may be sung. With rich harmonies and lyrical lines that bring wonderful depth to the meaning of prayer, it is perhaps the composer’s most transcendent music.”

» Fanfare Magazine, February 2006
Review of American Music from Saint Thomas (KOCH KIC CD 7567)

“Here is a soothing CD for Sunday night listening: two settings of liturgical texts by Dan Locklair for a cappella choir and a song cycle by Randall Thompson for choir and chamber orchestra, separated by Walter Piston’s instrumental interlude for organ and strings. The choir is that of the church of St. Thomas, New York, “the only church-related residential choir school in the United States” according to the notes. It consists of 15 men, some of whom sing counter-tenor, and 20 or more boys from the church school. The recording was made in St. Thomas’ church in May 2002 and the acoustic has been well managed: sound is reverberant enough to put a halo around the choristers, but not so much as to muddy the lines. The organ and chamber orchestra are cleanly recorded too, balanced more closely than the choir.”

“Dan Locklair (b. 1949) has composed music in several genres but is probably best known for his sacred music. His Brief Mass from 1993 is widely performed, popular for its musical qualities as much as its brevity. Locklair’s choral writing is similar to that of Britten and some other 20th-century English choral composers: his themes have a Lydian modality about them and his harmonies often feature the soft dissonance of a major second. Both of these traits “sound” particularly well in a cathedral setting. The opening Kyrie is almost entirely set in the choir’s middle register, but is capped at the very end by a high arioso line from the sopranos — a sudden, short-lived blossoming. The remaining four movements are equally succinct. Again, in the short setting of the Pater Noster (the Lord’s Prayer), Locklair’s style is clean and clear, this time evoking a medieval atmosphere through the use of pedal notes from the bass voices. The choir copes well with these two unaccompanied works, which are not as easy as they sound: exposed singing like this with very little doubling requires unanimity of attack and accurate pitch.”

“…a delightful disc.”

January 2006

Dan Locklair’s Pater Noster Receives Fourth Recording in One Year New CD from Koch International Classics is Latest Release and Also Features Second Recording of Composer’s Brief Mass.

Read CD Reviews at Music Web International and Classical Voice North Carolina. (Albany/Troy 701/2):

» Winston-Salem Journal, 8 May 2005
Ken Keuffel’s review of the CD, DAN LOCKLAIR: CHAMBER MUSIC (Albany/Troy 701/2):

“Dan Locklair, a professor of composition at Wake Forest University, once confided to me that he had no desire to write for the accordion. But as this wonderful and generous two-disc collection of chamber works shows, he is willing — and quite able — to write for just about any other instrument or combination of instruments out there…

This collection of works, composed over a 20 year-plus period, reminds us of why musicians want to perform and record his music. Consider it a fine, comprehensive introduction to the composer’s art…

(In Reynolda Reflections) time hasn’t dampened my astonishment at this music, which can translate sensuousness into sound, quote old American gospel songs in new and compelling ways, and remind us that we’re misusing the Earth’s riches.

Frankly, I was blown away by Constellations…”

Classical Voice of North Carolina, April 2005
William Thomas Walker’s review of the CD, DAN LOCKLAIR: CHAMBER MUSIC (Albany/Troy 701/2):

“In a letter to his father about aspects of the composition of his piano concertos K.413-415, Mozart wrote, ‘(They) are in fact midway between too difficult and too easy — they are very brilliant, fall agreeably on the ear, though of course without becoming trivial. Here and there only connoisseurs can derive satisfaction, but in such a way that the non-connoisseur will be pleased without knowing why.’ Mozart’s comment could just as well apply as a summation of this delightful and wide-ranging compilation of chamber music by Dan Locklair…”

» Salisbury Post (Salisbury, NC), 20 January 2005
Gerald Cochran’s review of The Salisbury Symphony Orchestra performance of Symphony of Seasons (Symphony No. 1):

“Although a new work, it is quite listenable. The audience was very receptive, and gave Locklair, who was in attendance, a warm and well-deserved ovation.”

» Music & Vision (England) November 2004
Carson Cooman’s review of the CD, DAN LOCKLAIR: CHAMBER MUSIC (Albany/Troy 701/2):

“This reviewer wrote very favorably about Locklair’s all-orchestral disc also released on Albany Records in 2002. It is now wonderful that Albany has followed that successful release with this new set of Locklair’s chamber compositions….

This disc shows a larger emotional range of music than the orchestral disc, but Locklair’s style remains the same — strongly crafted music of tonal character with ‘American’ harmonic and rhythmic inflections. Locklair’s harmonic language often favors small collections of pitches, particularly pentatonic ones, which he uses to build entire movements or sections.

As is almost always the case with Locklair’s music, all of these works are inspired by extra-musical ideas; paintings, poetry, nature, etc. Spanning nearly twenty years of compositional activity, these works provide an excellent sampling of Locklair’s instrumental music…

If this disc does not provide as immediate of an ‘impact’ as Locklair’s orchestral disc, it is simply because the bold, extrovert nature of the orchestral music is painted on a larger canvas. Locklair’s chamber music is absolutely worth enjoying, however. He is an important American voice who deserves further recognition and performances.”

» American Record Guide November/December 2004
Lindsay Koob’s review of the CD, My Spirit Sang All Day featuring “Create in Me a Clean Heart” and “Pater Noster”:

“…I was especially happy with two rich pieces, “Create in Me a Clean Heart” and “Pater Noster”, from contemporary American composer Dan Locklair (b. 1949), who deserves to be heard more often.”

» Clavier Magazine September 2004
A review on the publication release of The Five Senses: A Suite for Piano in Five Movements:

“The Five Senses: A Suite for Piano in Five Movements, by Dan Locklair, includes rich and refreshing examples of 21st century classical music… The imaginative suite should have a place in junior or senior recitals.”

» News Tribune (Duluth, MN), 24 June 2004
Samuel Black’s review of a performance of In the Autumn Days (Symphony for Chamber Orchestra) by the Lake Superior Chamber Orchestra (Warren Friesen, Music Director):

“This symphony shifted from rhythmic to dreamy, followed by a chorale and a return to aggressive rhythms. All the energy missing thus far from the evening was concentrated in this work. Differently pitched drums competed with the brass for the melody. At another point, a lovely flute wisped a tune that was imitated by a solo violin. Harplike sounds from the piano accompanied gentle strings intoning a hymn. Ultimately, the driving drums and brass sharply brought the piece to a halt. Energy had finally arrived, but the concert was over.”

»Choir & Organ (England), March/April 2004
Roderick Swanston’s review of the first British review of the publication of The Æolian Sonata and Celebration for organ:

“The pick of these new organ works is Dan Locklair’s Celebration (commissioned in 2003 for anniversary celebrations of a North Carolina Music Director) and the three-movement Æolian Sonata (commissioned in 2003 by Duke University Chapel in North Carolina). Both works display a marked ability to write imaginatively and excitingly for organ, exploiting both a wide range of colours and techniques including double pedalling, rapid trilling, thick chords and wide tessituras. Celebration is a set of variations that bubbles with energy…. The Æolian Sonata… carries an inscription ‘In remembrance of the darkness of September 11 from which emerged hope for Peace and Joy in Thanksgiving’…. The work displays Locklair’s brilliant constructive and colouristic skills, and the final ‘Laudate Dominum’ has a fiery energy maintained right through to its replendent ending.”

» Times-News (Burlington, NC), 21 March 2004
Tom Dillon’s review of organist Peter Sykes’s World Premiere performance of Salem Sonata at the re-dedication of the restored 1800 Tannenberg Organ at Old Salem (Winston-Salem, NC):

“The highlight of the evening, however, was the premiere of “Salem Sonata,” written by Dan Locklair of Wake Forest University.”

» The News and Observer (Raleigh, NC), 29 March 2004
Roy C. Dicks’ review of The North Carolina Symphony’s performance of Symphony of Seasons (Symphony No. 1):

“Locklair’s piece is unapologetically programmatic and tonal, vividly depicting the year’s changes as inspired by British poet James Thomson’s epic poem “The Seasons.” The rousing fanfare and sweet melody of “Autumn,” the fluttering strings and burbling woodwinds in “Spring,” and the languid reflection and childlike dances of “Summer” easily conjure specific images. Best is “Winter,” in which one grand, long melody builds from an icy, bleak opening to a monumental, windblown climax.”

Classical Voice of North Carolina [CVNC] (website), 29 March 2004
John Lambert’s review of The North Carolina Symphony’s performance of Symphony of Seasons (Symphony No. 1):

The Symphony of Seasons is “realized with levels of skill and understanding we have come to expect from our native son…”

» The Diapason, June 2003
Haig Mardirosian’s review of the publication of The Æolian Sonata for organ:

“…What a refreshing delight therefore, to notice a score which literally screams for the appraisal of masterpiece. The grounds for this conclusion are many, but none more telling than this: Dan Locklair’s The Æolian Sonata was hard to put down. In reading through the Sonata, one sensed an urge to learn it, perfect it, and put it into the active ready repertoire. Those are reactions normally reserved for the likes of Widor, Bach, or Messiaen. Does Dan Locklair’s name belong in such a rarefied atmosphere? On the face of this score, probably yes……If great art is about universals, then Dan Locklair has achieved a summit. Locklair’s sonata is that good.”