Publication Date

Spring 2012

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Fine Arts (MFA)


Music and Dance


Pablo Furman

Subject Areas



A Candle in the Dark - Concerto for Clarinet and Wind Ensemble is cast in three movements. The work is an exploration of the qualities of the concerto form with its inherent narrative of the single solo protagonist and its dialogue with a larger ensemble. In particular, I was interested in discovering the virtuoso capabilities in the agility and expressiveness of the solo clarinet and, in general, exploring the possibilities of the wind ensemble. The title, added after the composition was finished, quotes Carl Sagan's description of the use of reason and skepticism in a world preoccupied with superstition, with the solo clarinet representing the solitary candle. The material found in the first movement of the work is organized as a theme and variations built on a main theme of leaping ninths, and a sonority called the "progenitor" chord, variants of which appear in each movement and represent the "dark" referenced in the title. The second movement is cast in two major sections, a combination of fast interweaving lines and lilting dance-like themes and a gentle lullaby, built upon a second variant of the "progenitor" chord and a melodic cell called the "chromatic turn." The final movement states a third variant of the "progenitor" chord and is constructed as the developmental revelation of a new syncopated theme amid joyous fanfares in a celebratory atmosphere that brings the work to a triumphant conclusion.