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'... the moon commands ...' (1985) for flute, percussion, soprano, and piano is a setting of poetry by D R Fosso, a colleague of Locklair's at Wake Forest University [listen -- CD2 track 1, 0:55-2:01]. It is an energetically mystical piece, fitting well the obscure character of Fosso's poetry. Locklair blends the instruments with great skill to create a stunning 'sound space' -- making for some of the most memorable listening in this set and one of Locklair's strongest works involving voice. In particular, the use of a wide range of percussion adds an immense amount of varied instrumental color to what is otherwise a very small ensemble.

Dream Steps (1993), subtitled 'A Dance Suite for Flute, Viola, and Harp' was conceived both as chamber music and 'intimate' dance music for a small space. The five movements of the work make use of the early German 'bar form' (AAB), but are inspired by an extended poem of Langston Hughes. Thus, by quoting a German chorale melody as well as two African-American spirituals, Locklair builds a dance suite which combines old and new (as well as two divergent traditions) for a refreshingly light-spirited piece. Despite the 'French' scoring of the flute, viola, and harp combination, Locklair manages to imbue the combination with his characteristic sounds -- largely by giving the harp a role similar to that of the piano in the other works on this disc.

Constellations (1980), subtitled 'A Concerto for Organ and Percussion', is a much welcome re-issue of an earlier recording featuring the tremendous George Ritchie as organist, along with Albert Rometo, percussion. This is the earliest work of Locklair's on the disc, but also the most bold and strong-spirited. The genre of organ and percussion is a small but immensely effective one. Locklair's work is one of the most important pieces for the combination. In four movements, inspired by star constellations, Locklair's work uses the power of percussion and organ to create moods both ethereal and exhilarating. The conclusion is a blockbuster [listen -- CD2, track 10, 9:59-11:25].

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Copyright © 17 November 2004 Carson P Cooman, Rochester, NY, USA


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