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Ryan Fogleman

Penumbra, for Clarinet, Piano and Cello

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Hi everyone! I wrote this piece, "Penumbra", at the request of a teacher, and I liked how it came out. The inspiration musically was based around progressive rock and jazz fusion structures and harmony.

I have only a little experience with clarinet and cello, so I'm not sure whether all of the fingerings are ideal. I'd be very grateful if any players of those instruments could give me feedback on that.

Penumbra.pdf

Penumbra.mp3

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I think there are many chained ideas here and, in the end, not very well engaged in a whole structure. It seems you explore a variety of techniques: harmony in fifths, clusters, among others. Regarding the piano there are some passages where you only use one hand... It leaves the instrument underused.

In summary, the music is nice but I think you have material there for more than one piece.

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Clarinet fingerings are fine. Cello going up there with the triplets might be a little stressful, but I haven't seen anything that would make it unplayable.

I do, however, kind of mirror Luis's opinions... it feels quite episodic, and I think you should expand these sections, since it's very good potential for a decently long suite. I felt that as soon as it was going somewhere it kind of dropped off into something else which was somewhat uncomfortable. 

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This shows a lot of potential, especially with harmony and texture. I agree with the other reviewers, however, that the form/logic of the piece was difficult to follow--as if it were fragments of 5 different pieces trying to form a single piece.

In addition to focusing more on motivic development (including fragmentation, sequences, augmentation, diminution, octave displacement--all those fun classical techniques), it might be useful to think about the "shape" of each section while composing. Even having just a vague idea of where a section is going (is it increasing or decreasing in tension? Am I building to a big moment or surprise? Do I need a contrast here, or more of the same idea?) when writing can make the piece hold together better and give it a more satisfying "drama" for the listener to follow.

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