Where there is Darkness, Light

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     Composed in 2019 for Jena Nahnsen, clarinetist, for her senior recital, this piece centers around the idea that there is always hope, even in the darkest of times. Often, those darkness needs to happen in order to even recognize that light exists within those moments.

     Jena's expertise in extended techniques for the clarinet, especially under the direction of Gregory Oakes, was the initial spark for the thematic and melodic ideas. Even though multiphonics are generally sustained and held chords, there can be a melodic element involved when played in succession. Using that phenomenon, I wanted to bring out the somber timbre of the clarinet, mixed with using multiphonics for melody, amidst other, active and aggressive motivic ideas, ultimately creating a piece of music that tells a story: dwelling in darkness, eager to escape, coming out on the other side, and recognizing that darkness may never fully dissipate.




Performed and recorded by Jena Nahnsen (clarinet) for her senior recital via Facebook Live due to the COVID-19 pandemic.