Anton Chekhov is regarded by many as the most outstanding short story writer. This may be a surprise at the first encounter with even his most famous stories, because they are rarely driven by plot or anticipation. They are often gentle in character, elusive in purpose; but they create a resonance in the imagination that rings long. Here are 12 stories, from the brightly comic to the overtly tragic, each full of the sharpest observations of personality and situation, and with implications beyond their brief form; the dying actor, the children playing a game, the cabman with his tragedy, the orator's mistake and, perhaps most richly of all, the family laid bare in 'In The Ravine'. With music by Tchaikovsky and Balakirev.