As far as stories go, it's hard to top Nikolai Rimsky
Korsakov's Scheherazade. It's a treasure trove—a story
about one of history's greatest storytellers and the
tales she weaves.
Scheherazade is the young bride of the Sultan. After
one of his wives cheats on him, he decides to take a
new wife every day and have her executed the next
morning. But it all stops with Scheherazade. She
marries the Sultan in order to save all future young
women from this fate. She tells the Sultan fascinating
stories, leaving him in such suspense each night that
he can't execute her the next morning for fear of not
hearing the end of the story. After 1,001 of these
well-told tales, the Sultan relents.
Rimsky-Korsakov wrote Scheherazade (a symphonic suite)
in the summer of 1888. The piece opens with the Sultan,
a big and burly theme (audio) filled with gravitas and
ego, almost saying "Here I am, strong and powerful.
What do you have to say for yourself?"
The main love story in Scheherazade is found in this,
the third movement, called "The Young Prince and the
Young Princess." Although originally written for
Orchestra, I created this simplified adaptation for
Viola and Piano.