The winds of change circulating through the Stevens Center Sunday afternoon blew us into a new musical experience as Music Director Robert Moody and the Winston-Salem Symphony brought the 2012-13 season to a close. The occasion was an exciting tour de force, dubbed by Moody his “out-of-the-box” concert, which included a premiere, computer-generated art with electronic sound and the 21st-century music of two composers who were in attendance. The program was dedicated to the memory of Martha Linnell, a violist in the orchestra who recently passed away.
The program began with the world premiere of Dan Locklair’s “Hail the Coming Day,” commissioned by the City of Winston-Salem to celebrate the centennial of its consolidation. Locklair, who is composer in residence and professor of music at Wake Forest University, took the title from a speech made in 1876 by Robert Gray, who said he hoped for the day “from which shall rise one common town.” Locklair then created a short, festive work for large orchestra in which he paid tribute to signature aspects of our city by placing his contrasting themes of Winston’s industry and Salem’s history between the stabilizing structure of a recurring fanfare and march-like theme brilliantly played antiphonally by sections of the brass. Particularly notable was Kathy Levy’s flute playing in the lush pastoral sections. Locklair always produces exciting pieces and this was no exception. It would be nice if the orchestra opened every concert in 2013 with this celebratory work.