Magazine article The American Organist

Dan Locklair: Symphony of Seasons and Other Orchestral Works

Magazine article The American Organist

Dan Locklair: Symphony of Seasons and Other Orchestral Works

Article excerpt

RECORDINGS

DAN LOCKLAIR: SYMPHONY OF SEASONS AND OTHER ORCHESTRAL WORKS. Janeanne Houston, soprano; Jacquelyn Bartlett, harp; Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra, Kirk Trevor, conductor. Naxos 8.559337. www.locklair.com; www. jamesarts.com. 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. The Symphony of Seasons, in four movements, was commissioned by a multiorchestral consortium, completed in 2002. Inspired by poems from 18th-century poet James Thomson's The Seasons, each movement evokes specific emotions: the exuberant joyful optimism of autumn (quoting "Now thank we all our God"), the melancholy of winter, with its "Vapours, and Clouds, and Storms" (very effectively portrayed through a twelve-statement chaconne), the playful levity of spring (combining elements of the scherzo and waltz), and the warm awakening of summer (employing the melodies of "Sumer is icumen in" and "In the Good Old Summertime"). This is a most compelling contemporary musical essay on the subject. Concerto for Harp and Orchestra was completed in 2004. Skillfully performed by Jacquelyn Bartlett, who provided the impetus for the work, the threemovement concerto displays effective writing for the harp (including percussive tapping on the framework), as well as colorful interaction between the soloist and other instruments. …

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