Reviews

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.”