Since the 1960's I have loved Poe (first memory being that of the Roger Corman/Vincent Price version of Pit and the Pendulum which I saw in 1967 and found truly frightening). Of course I discovered his poetry, satire and so on in later years and came to appreciate him more than an author of morbid tales.
In 1995 I had an idea to compose a series of three pieces for Cello and Orchestra, each descriptive of one of Poe's stories. One of my friends was Principal Cellist of the North German Radio Symphony Orchestra in Hamburg and told me that, if I could get the work written and send him a score, they might get a performance.
I entitled the work Three Tales after Poe for Cello and Orchestra and selected (1) The Cask of Amontillado, (2) The Descent into the Maelstrom, and (3) The Masque of the Red Death. Composition did not go well and during the Summer of that year decided to work "from the back inwards," so to speak so I began working on The Masque of the Red Death, and made a great deal of progress.
I was going to turn my attention to the other parts of the work and told my friend in Germany that it would likely be finished in 1996 so it might be premeired in 1997 at the latest, but at this point my Mother took ill with heart disease and passed away (mid-September 1995). And for some strange reason, inspiration simply vanished. Within 3 years I'd lost all the desire to write music.
Sometimes I wonder if I'll ever try again. I wonder. ...