For wind ensemble, grade 6
Of all the fairy tales that I grew up hearing, “Rumpelstilzchen” is the one that most captured my imagination. The image of a creepy little gnome who has the magical power to spin straw into gold was fascinating to me. In fact, one of my first recognizable childhood drawings was a crudely rendered little man furiously whirling himself away into oblivion among multicolored scribbles. In addition, I also grew up attending concerts and hearing recordings of the university wind ensemble that my father directs. So it is only natural that I chose to compose a major work for symphonic winds that takes its inspiration from the story of Rumpelstilzchen.
Rumpelstilzchen is divided into three movements, each depicting a different part of the story. The first movement, “Spinning Straw into Gold,” paints a portrait of Rumpelstilzchen clattering away at his spinning wheel. You will hear the wooden clicking and rattling of the spinning wheel, Rumpelstilzchen laughing to himself, as well as ominous undertones of his plan to steal the poor maiden’s firstborn son. After gradually working himself up into a frenzy, Rumpelstilzchen manages to compose himself enough to complete his task before vanishing into thin air. The second movement, “Night (The Maiden’s Lament)” is a picture of the maiden’s grief upon realizing that she must give up her firstborn son to Rumpelstilzchen in exchange for his gold-spinning services. A long, plaintive melodic line is passed among various solo instruments, gradually culminating in a mournful chorale as the grief-stricken maiden sings her sorrow into the night. The final movement, “Rumpelstilzchen’s Furiant (Moto Perpetuo)” describes Rumpelstilzchen’s dance of fury after his plot is foiled by the maiden’s successfully guessing his name. This final movement is a technical tour de force for the entire ensemble as it paints the picture of Rumpelstilzchen dancing and whirling faster and faster until he flies out of the maiden’s house on a cooking ladle, never to be seen again.