String in Chamber Music, quintets and larger, by Howard J. Buss

Compositions and Arrangements
Grading Scale:

I-II: Easy

III-IV: Intermediate
V-VI: Advanced
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Strings in chamber music - quintets and larger
(works are in alphabetical order, durations are in parenthesis):

THE HEAVENS AWAKEN (2008) for solo bassoon & string quartet by Howard J. Buss is dedicated to bassoonist Arnold Irchai. The structure of this work is highly symbolic in that it was inspired by the details of the visions of the priest Ezekiel while living with the Jewish exiles in Babylon. Ezekiel saw a powerful, glowing, and complex entity appear in the sky out of a “great cloud.” He believed it to be an appearance of God: “Also out of the midst thereof came the likeness of 4 living creatures. And this was their appearance; they had the likeness of a man.” (Ezekiel 1:5 KJV) The formal scheme is programmatic in the sense that the sequence of events described in the vision is musically represented in a general way. The serene opening gradually becomes mysterious and gives way to a series of passages that serve as an ominous portent to the arrival of the airborne object. The 4 string instruments, each with 4 strings, 4 tuning pegs, and human-like body shape symbolize the 4 “creatures” of the vision. The bassoon represents the “voice” of what Ezekiel believes is God. It should be noted that many people also have interpreted his vision as a sighting of a UFO, described with the insights and vocabulary of the day. (12’30”) Grade V.
Sound Samples: Excerpt 1.mp3; Excerpt 2.mp3; Excerpt 3.mp3 - Score Sample: excerpt.pdf

Music available from Cimarron Music Press

MILLENNIUM VISIONS (1999) for clarinet & string quartet by Howard J. Buss in three movements: First Dawn, Meditation, and Quest, was composed in the latter months of 1999 when most of the world was looking forward with anticipation to the turn of the Century, and in many minds, the Millennium. The conflict between man’s desire to “progress” in our technological age and his desire to connect to his spiritual past is symbolically represented by an array of musical styles and compositional procedures. The modern world is suggested by passages influenced by popular music styles and 12-tone technique. The longing for spirituality is manifested in the poignant lyricism of the work and its reliance on classical formal structures. Commissioned for ClarinetFest 2000, premiered by Tom Martin (Boston Symphony). (20’) Grade V.
Sound Samples: Excerpt 1.mp3, Excerpt 2.mp3. Excerpt 3.mp3
- Video on YouTube

Music available from Cimarron Music Press

Ocean MoodsOCEAN MOODS “Three Sonic Portraits” (2014) for flute, clarinet, violin, viola, and cello by Howard Buss ranges from lyric tenderness to powerful and sometimes dazzling technical displays. The three movements, Vistas, From the Depths), and Blustery, explore a wide range of sonic atmospheres and moods. . (13’30”) Grade VI.
Sound samples: Movement 1.mp3; Movement 2.mp3: Movement 3.mp3 - Video

Music available from Cimarron Music Press

SINFONIETTA (1990) for string quintet (2-1-1-1) or string orchestra by Howard J. Buss was commissioned by the Imperial Symphony Orchestra to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the American Music Center. It was premiered by the Imperial Symphony Orchestra in April, 1991 in Lakeland, Florida. The work begins with a mystical introduction that is somewhat transparent in nature. Haunting melodies for the solo viola and violin are superimposed over the sustained sonorities of the ensemble creating a deeply reflective mood. The music gradually becomes agitated and builds in intensity as the introduction gives way to a sequence of passages of varying length and character: A fanfare-like transition followed by an energetic segment characterized by driving rhythms and changing meters leads to a section featuring buoyant melodies where, through the fast-moving surface elegance, runs an undercurrent of tension. The work concludes in a spirit of triumphant proclamation.
(6’30”) Grade V.Sound Samples: Excerpt 1.mp3; Excerpt 2.mp3

Music available from Cimarron Music Press

WHERE NOW RUSTS THE IRON? (1994) by Howard J. Buss for high voice, flute, cello and six percussionis a dramatic tribute to the composer’s grandfather who, like many ironworkers in his day, worked under brutal conditions with the dream of making life better for future generations. “A moving work touching our communal soul.” (8’) Grade IV-V. 

Score sample: Excerpt.pdf

Music available from Cimarron Music Press

Percussion distribution: Perc. 1: Timpani, orchestra bells, tubular bells (shared with perc. 2), and finger cymbals; Perc. 2: anvils (metal pipes may be substituted), and tubular bells (shared with perc. 1: Perc. 3: Xylophone, and suspended cymbal; Perc. 4: Vibes & suspended cymbal; Perc. 5: marimba; Perc. 6: suspended cymbals, tam-tam, wind chimes & bell tree. Percussion Set-up Chart.pdf file

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String Music Index:
Click on an instrumentation link, works are listed in alphabetical order within each category.

String solos, unaccompanied



String with one other instrument

String ensembles

Strings in chamber music - trios

Strings in chamber music - quartets

Strings in chamber music - quintets and larger

Howard J. Buss, Composer       

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String Music, catalog of sheet music.
Product description: String Music: Solos, Duos, Chamber Music and Recordings