March 22, 2017
Reviews
"A bright voice to listen to amid America's gray compositional landscape. He has something to say, and he says it directly and in a way very much his own."
Dallas Morning News
John Ardoin
"...one of the cleverest composers writing, and certainly one of our master colorists."
Piano & Keyboard
Bright Wings: A Valediction for large orchestra "It was a pleasure to encounter Mr. Welcher's music again, and his new piece, Bright Wings, is subtitled "Valediction for Large Orchestra."... The "Valediction" of the subtitle is a farewell to someone in his life who recently died. Yet there is nothing mournful in any sense in the music. Indeed, it seems, on the whole, downright celebratory, and perhaps it was meant as a paean for living. It is crafted for a very large orchestra, yet Mr. Welcher's forces are deployed with transparency and often great delicacy... I can easily imagine it being a boon to orchestras in need of a new, upbeat piece to open a concert... easily absorbable for...
Dallas Morning News
John Ardoin
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Concerto da Camera for bassoon and small orchestra "Bassoonists are also lucky to have a new work as beautifully crafted as Welcher's as an addition to their limited solo repertory. Like his recent Flute Concerto, it is a pensive piece that expertly exploits its solo instrument to evoke atmosphere and emotion-drenched landscapes. More conservative than the Flute Concerto, and frequently elegiac in mood, it is also crafty in the ways it deploys a small group of players to create a wide range of instrumental color."
Louisville Courier-Journal
William Mootz
Concerto for Clarinet for clarinet and orchestra "If there's a better Clarinet Concerto by a living composer, I don't know of it. The work is almost a catalogue of the clarinet's musical possibilities, but it is far too well constructed to come across as a mere display of clarinet timbres."
On The Air Magazine
Richard Halley
Concerto for Flute for flute and orchestra "On the basis of this work I would say that Welcher is one of the most promising American composers I have ever heard..."
High Fidelity
R.S. Brown
Concerto for Piano ('Shiva's Drum') for piano and orchestra "It is a big, ambitious piece, some 35 minutes in length. Though its content is not romantic, its design is, for this is a concerto conceived in a full-scale, virtuoso style... what I heard was a first movement that was a riot of exotic color and bristling rhythms, a shimmering and introspective second movement and a dashing, pulsating finale."
Dallas Morning News
John Ardoin
"Dan Welcher's Piano Concerto was received with thunderous enthusiasm... the concerto is a highly demanding virtuoso vehicle for both soloist and orchestra. The harmonic idiom is a stretched tonality - exotic but not alienating."
San Antonio Express-News
Mike GreenbergSan
Concerto for Timpani for timpani and orchestra "It would be hard to name a more appealing new concerto for any instrument than this one... The concerto lets the soloist show off an amazing tonal and dynamic range."
Salt Lake Tribune
Catherine Reese Newton
Concerto for Violin "...the fingerprints of the neo-classic Stravinsky are all over the opening bars, from the angularity of the solo lines to the piquant harmonies and motoric rhythmic underpinnings in the orchestra. ...the craftsmanship is impeccable, especially the interweaving and dovetailing of melodic strands between the various instrumental groups. ...charming work..."
Chicago Tribune
Michael Cameron
Della's Gift for opera in two acts "I'd be willing to risk money that Della's Gift will survive long after its opening night. The reasons are good and much deserved. The music is disarming in its charm and eminently singable. And as theater, Della's Gift is uncomplicated and affecting... around the 'magical children' of O. Henry's familiar story, Welcher has constructed a musical aura that evokes a bygone American era in a gently, loving way."
Dallas Morning News
John Ardoin
"The orchestral colors are as spectacular as a Hawaiian volcano, the musical structure is exceptionally tight, and the piece as a whole is a delight to surrender to."
On The Air Magazine
Richard Halley
"Welcher's music has a cinematic sweep, with Hawaiian chant-tunes, Polynesian scales, and a battery of native percussion instruments lending an exotic vibrancy to his rich-textured score. All this makes for some pretty weird and wonderful effects, a veritable cornucopia of color-inflected sonorities."
American Record Guide
Tiedman
Holy Night: an opera in three scenes and an epilogue "The two operas Della's Gift and Holy Night offer us intimate examinations of that difficulty (of sustaining real love) from either side of a century's divide, in a meager fifth avenue apartment in 1905, and the same apartment, much refurbished, today... In both, the Christmas setting exposes how we sometimes need to make a statement of our love through gift or action at that time of year, how we have twisted the holiday from an occasion for offering some part of ourselves to one when we have to prove something of our love with a gift. Ultimately, both Della's Gift and Holy Night show us a way beyond that, to forgiveness and the shedding...
Austin Chronicle
Robert Faires
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Jackpot: A Celebratory Overture for large orchestra "One highlight was the nine-minute Jackpot: A Celebratory Overture for Large Orchestra, written for the Philharmonic by Dan Welcher. Commissioned to commemorate the centennial, the work... does catch the fever and fervor associated with the city's favorite sport. The orchestra first suggested the anticipation of a quick win with some grand cascades gradually building to a fever pitch, some slower sections (reminiscent of those inevitable losses) and an ultimate conclusion as bright as the city itself."
Las Vegas Review-Journal
Julia Osborne
JFK: The Voice of Peace for an oratorio for orchestra, chorus, and speakers "The composer has had to juggle a lot of elements, and he has done his work skillfully. He has a keen response to the emotional and pictorial qualities of the text, and he knows how to write vividly and gratifyingly for the orchestra. The setting of Frost's "Riders" was galvanizing... rich in both virtuoso display and expressive content."
Boston Herald
Ellen Pfeifer
Phaedrus for violin, clarinet, and piano "...an essay in Apollonian-Dionysian contrasts...Love-intoxicated... brims with an interior poetry and fiery lyricism that you somehow don't expect from violin, clarinet and piano."
Miami Herald
James Roos
Prairie Light: Three Texas Water Colors of Georgia O'Keeffe for orchestra "...an appealingly moody work that weaves a spell with its ever-changing washes of sound and deeply etched effects."
Dallas Morning News
John Ardoin
Remembrance in Black and White for mezzo-soprano, flute, clarinet, violin, viola, cello, piano, and percussion "...a setting of verses by California poet Christina Hutchins... Mr. Welcher's 14-mintue setting captures the tenderness of the memories and evokes a child's playfulness in lyric music descended from Debussy and Samuel Barber."
Dallas News
Scott Cantrell
Symphony No. 1 for orchestra "All three movements are packed with musical ideas that pull the listener's attention from one orchestral section to the next, but with transitions that are smooth and natural... Welcher displays an ease with beautiful music in gorgeous brass ensembles, rich and consonant string passages and multitudes of solo colors."
Honolulu Star Bulletin
Richard McKinney
Symphony No. 5 for Large Symphony Orchestra "There was no doubt that at least some in the audience Friday night found (the) premiere thrilling with Welcher receiving heartfelt cheers and a very considered standing ovation. Such a reception was deserved. Welcher's Fifth is a 21st-century symphony for Austin: urbane, expressive, filled with touches of whimsy and expansively American in its artistic references."
Austin American Statesman
Jeanne Clair van Ryzin
Venti di Mare (Sea Winds) for fantasy-concerto for oboe and small orchestra "A refreshing tonic for winter-weary imaginations. The 24-minute work's sunny disposition shows through each of its six movements..."
Rochester Democrat & Chronicle
Sharon McDaniel
Zephyrus for flute, violin, viola, and cello "Welcher's Zephyrus is the real treasure here—a serious contribution to the flute and string repertoire. Zephyrus makes heavy demands on the flutist without digressing into silly theatrics."
American Record Guide
Payton MacDonald
Zion for orchestra "The concert opened with what would prove to be its highlight, Zion, a contemporary work by Texas composer Dan Welcher. The sweeping, majestic piece—performed exceedingly well by the symphony—was reminiscent of the work of Aaron Copland with its brash, all-American sound."
Amarillo Globe-News
Chip Chandler