Composer James Stephenson composed The Storyteller in 2013 in memoriam to the incomparable Adolph "Bud" Herseth, the long-term principal trumpeter of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Commissioned by Richard and Valerie Stoelzel for the 2013 ITG conference in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Stephenson quickly composed his tribute shortly after Herseth's passing. The work was premiered at the conference by current CSO principal trumpeter, Chris Martin.
The composition is a beautiful homage to the trumpet great. The work is conceived for trumpet, violin, piano, and offstage trumpet, although the piece can be performed without violin and off-stage trumpet.
The composer purposefully includes subtle samplings of famous orchestral trumpet quotes, the most notable is Stravinsky's "Song of the Nightingale".
As with many lyrical works, there are subtle challenges for the performer, including accuracy, and delicate passages. This composition also contains a wide dynamic and pitch range, with some angularity (large leaps) in a few spots. A fundamental command of the C trumpet is needed.
The musical context, melodic understanding, and the recommended performance on C Trumpet, create an excellent work for the developing undergraduate performer.