Cumulonimbus: The King of Clouds for B-flat clarinet and piano


For Clarinet in B-flat and Piano

The inspiration for this piece 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. I particularly loved his chapter on the Cumulonimbus cloud and the description of the destruction and havoc that this cloud can make.




Cumulonimbus: The King of Clouds for B-flat clarinet and piano: 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. I try 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.”

I 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.

Recent performances of Cumulonimbus: The King of Clouds for B-flat clarinet and piano

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