Review: Western Piedmont Symphony premieres Locklair’s “America” Symphony No. 2

Posted on: October 11, 2017

“Maestro John Gordon Ross opened the 53rd season of the Western Piedmont Symphony and his 27th season as music director of the orchestra with a multi-faceted all-American program,” writes Peter Perrett on Saturday (10/7) at the online arts journal CVNC.org (Raleigh, N.C.). The free concert at Lenoir Rhyne University in Hickory, North Carolina “included a stunning premiere performance of North Carolina composer Dan Locklair’s soon-to-be-a-hit Symphony No. 2, America. Dr. Locklair teaches music composition (and allied courses) at Wake Forest University…. Set for large symphonic forces, America is in three movements … ‘Independence Day,’ ‘Memorial Day,’ and ‘Thanksgiving Day.’ Their associated songs or themes are cunningly cloaked in polyrhythmic disguises and only occasionally ‘come clean,’ as when ‘America, the Beautiful’ brought tears to the eyes of the audience…. Unlike Charles Ives’ century-old New England Holiday Symphony with its intentional dissonances and polytonal effects, most of the tonal adventure in the Locklair came from harmonic ventures and intriguing modulations… The ending of the entire symphony was a gorgeous pianissimo, superbly balanced by Maestro Ross, which poignantly blended the primary themes of the first and third movements.” Also on the program were works of George Gershwin, José Pablo Moncayo, Louis Moreau Gottschalk, and William Grant Still.

Posted October 11, 2017