Imagine that five people walk into a room and sit around a circular table expectantly. One by one they begin to speak, not with their voices, but with the instruments each person has brought with them. First the clarinet is heard, then the flute followed by the horn, then the oboe and finally the bassoon. They each vie for attention, seemingly attempting to agree on how they are to proceed. Finally they decide that each performer will tell a story with the others commenting or embellishing or even taking over the story. This is the dream that I had which inspired Short Stories.
Commissioned by The Aspen Wind Quintet and funded by Chamber Music America with funds from The Pew Charitable Trusts, Short Stories was written in 1994 and subsequently premiered that summer by The Aspen Wind Quintet at the Chautauqua Institute in New York.
The work is comprised of six movements with movements four, five and six played attacca. Each movement has an evocative title which hints at the story being told or at the storytellers themselves. Wildly divergent, Short Stories moves from mysterious to boisterous, from playful to painful, and climaxes with a vibrant, joyous dance.