Cumulonimbus: The King Of Clouds For Clarinet And Piano, By Jenni Brandon, Performed By Tori R Venske

Cumulonimbus: The King Of Clouds for clarinet and piano, by Jenni Brandon, performed By Tori R Venske on December 5, 2021 from 8pm to 9pm in the Pitman Recital Hall, Oklahoma University School of Music. The recital is livestreamed or you may attend in person. Attendance is free.

Jenni’s  inspiration for this piece, Cumulonimbus: The King of Clouds for B-flat clarinet and piano, comes from a wonderful book titled The Cloudspotter’s Guide: The Science, History, and Culture of Clouds by Gavin Pretor-Pinney. In this book he describes all types of clouds, from the Stratus all the way up to the Cirrocumulus cloud. Jenni particularly loved his chapter on the Cumulonimbus cloud and the description of the destruction and havoc that this cloud can make. Jenni thought it would be exciting to write a work that represents this cloud and its fury.

The piece begins ominously as a storm approaches and then moves into crashing clusters and the fast fury that a storm like this can bring. The clarinet leaps like hail and lightning, and the piano boldly grows bigger as the storm rages. Jenni tries to tell the story of this cloud much in the way that the book describes the cloud, including that “…it can lead to untold loss of life and damage to property. It has also been known to frighten little children with its thunder.”

Jenni had the pleasure to write this work for Marianne Breneman and Philip Amalong of Conundrum, a Cincinnati-based new music ensemble. They premiered the work in Los Angeles on November 12, 2011, at Occidental College during a Synchromy concert.