'Twas a Dark and Stormy Night... was composed in the winter of 1987. My inspiration came from a book of the same title. It was a compilation of short stories that were entered in a literature competition out of England. The only mandatory guideline was that the story must begin with 'Twas a dark and stormy night. After that, the world was open for whatever the imagination might bring.
I was so excited by the idea, that I decided to basically do the same thing with an equally simple and yet "open" motive. Thus the piece begins with the musical equivalent of 'Twas a dark and stormy night. The opening cadenza sets the stage, the harmonic language is introduced, and all at once, the imagination lets loose the adventure within.
I chose to compose the piece for horn and organ because I was at the time presenting quite a number of recitals for that duo. Obviously the search for repertoire was challenging. In composing 'Twas a Dark and Stormy Night..., I hoped to fill a major gap, that is, a challenging recital piece for horn and organ that shows off the best loved characteristics of each instrument, and one that is completely different from anything else that might appear on the program.
This piece can be performed with piano as well. The pedal notes for the organ are notated with the stems downwards, and can be omitted if performed with piano. There are some optional notes notated within brackets which are to be played by the piano, but not the organ. Which stops to be used on the organ is completely up to the artist.