Psappha – Composing for Clarinet

Over several months from November 2015 to February 2016 I wrote and developed a solo clarinet piece called Nacreous Contours for Dov Goldberg. Through Psappha’s Composing for Clarinet scheme I was able to meet Dov Goldberg for three workshop sessions. In these sessions I was able to try out different techniques and sounds. It was an invaluable opportunity to work closely with a performer. Being able to hear your music back in reality with comments from the performer helps to mould the composition process and ultimately helps to create a more coherent and unique piece of music.

Please check out the video below to listen to Nacreous Contours!

Programme Note:

Nacreous Contours (2016) was written for Dov Goldberg as part of the Psappha Composing for Clarinet scheme 2015-2016. The piece is from a series of works based on the natural world and more specifically naturally phenomenon, with this piece being based on nacreous clouds. Nacreous clouds, aka ‘mother-of-pearl clouds’, are rare phenomena that occur mostly after sunset or before dawn when they blaze brightly with vivid and shifting layers of iridescent colours. The piece is based on an imagined journey through a nacreous cloud split loosely into three sections that explore the dark grey of the clouds, gradually travelling through the cloud and finally at the end reaching the brightest part of the cloud. This is mapped through tempo, tessitura and pitch range with the first part having a generally low tessitura and more limited pitch range, all placed at a slower tempo. The second section sees the tessitura shift upwards and the pitch range expand as the tempo also increases. The final section expresses the brightest and highest part of the cloud and thus the tessitura is at its highest here and the tempo is also increased, further expressing the pearly ethers of the cloud.