Short Stories 

Composed in: 2005
Instrumentation: String Quartet [Violins (2), Viola, Cello]
Commissioned by: Shirley B. Levine
for Pacific Serenades
Premiered by: Roger Wilkie & Brendan Speltz, violins
Simon Oswell, viola
David Speltz, cello
Publisher: Pacific Serenades

Program Notes

Short Stories is a series of five movements that range in character from whimsical to elegiac, from pensive to exuberant.  It is, thus, quite the opposite of my earlier string quartet, Starry Night, (premiered by Pacific Serenades in 1989), which is a single, complex 20-minute movement.  The “stories” of this new work are purely musical, and though the titles match the moods of the individual movements, they are vague enough that you should feel free to imagine your own stories.

The third movement, The Empty Chair, however, was an immediate response to my reading the first reports of casualties from the Iraq war, which came in not long before the holidays in 2004. I was overcome with sorrow for those families who would have an empty chair—literal or symbolic—where their loved one would have sat during times of peace as they celebrated the holidays.

The piece was commissioned by Shirley B. Levine for Pacific Serenades and was premiered in February of 2005 by Roger Wilkie and Brendan Speltz, violins, Simon Oswell, viola, and David Speltz, cello.