I have admired Dan Locklair’s music over the years and am pleased to do so again. The main work is his 40-minute Requiem, an uplifting piece that celebrates life and dispenses consolation in its 9 sections, all sung in English. It is non-liturgical in scope, with ‘Let Not Your Heart Be Troubled; ‘I Am the Resurrection; and ‘I Will Lift Up Mine Eyes’ joining the usual subdivisions of the Mass. As always with this composer, the writing is accessible, deeply felt, and notably un-slushy. (With so many con temporary choral composers ready to shimmer, glimmer, and go gooey at the drop of a hat, it’s nice to come across one who isn’t.) Locklair wrote his Requiem for choir and organ, but billowed the accompaniment out into a string orchestra format that works nicely with the lush choral writing. One section that could see duty on its own is the jaunty ‘I Will Lift up Mine Eyes’ for soprano and organ. It’s delightful.
The shorter works range from an invocation of the first Christmas (‘ Calm on the Listening Ear’) to a sacred song celebrating the composer’s wife’s birthday (‘Comfort, comfort’). I don’t recall other Locklair releases coming to us from such deluxe musical and sonic circumstances! Royal Holloway of Lon don is one of the really good choirs the Brits have, the soloists are excellent, and the recording made at Christchurch Priory in Dorset flatters everyone, the composer included. He deserves it. What a nice release!