Instrumentation: clarinet (bass cl. doubling), violin, viola, cello, piano
Written for Moscow Conservatory’s
for New Music ensemble, Igor Dronov conducting; premiered on May 19, 2008 in Rachmaninoff Hall, Moscow Conservatory.
Winner of the 2010 League of Composers/ISCM Composition Competition
The word "penumbra" means "partial shadow" or "partial shade." In Penumbrae, instruments shadow one another in various ways. In the opening, single notes protruding from the piano are given resonance by the other instruments just as a shadow is cast from an object. The aural effect of the resonant opening is something like a musical mobile, spinning slowly, casting new shadows with each turn. Gradually the resonance builds and gives way to a more agitated texture. The bass clarinet then commands attention playing a theme centered on a low C# with the other instruments partially supporting and partially demanding attention of their own. After a slow middle section of slow chords and melodic shadowy lines that recalls the sonorous opening introduction, the work builds to a climactic ending with a return to the agitated music and the low C# theme, this time with all forces joining in. Penumbrae was premiered and recorded by the Moscow Conservatory’s Studio for New Music, Igor Dronov conducting.