Stephen Cabell


Stephen Cabell (b. 1984) is a New York-based composer of sonically engaging and arrestingly wrought music that attempts to grab the listener from the very first moments and never lets go. His artistic mission is to write music that can be understood and appreciated by both casual and expert listeners.

he Distance to the Moon

  • Instrumentation: flute, viola, and harp
  • Duration: 11 minutes
  • Completed: 2008


The Distance to the Moon was commissioned by the Lyra Society of Philadelphia and is scored for flute, viola, and harp. It was inspired by the short story of the same name by Italo Calvino from Cosmicomics, a series of unique short stories with an ethereal feel. The flute symbolizes Captain Vhd Vhd’s wife, the love interest of Qfwfq who is represented by the viola. The harp, the third character, symbolizes the moon. 

This story begins with the scientific premise that the Moon was once much closer to the Earth. So close in fact, that these beings could jump from the Earth into the gravitational pull of the Moon. As the Earth’s tides push the moon further away, it becomes more difficult to make this journey. The final time, Qfwfq’s unrequited love interest, Captain Vhd Vhd’s wife, gets trapped on the Moon unwittingly by Qfwfq and is stranded for eternity. He continues to be able to see her for a time until she disappears as the Moon drifts further and further away. 

This is the second work of mine to draw it’s inspiration from this story. The first is COSMICOMIC, a piece for orchestra.

-Stephen Cabell

© Copyright 2018 Stephen Cabell