Trumpet in Chamber Music, Quintets and Larger by Howard J. Buss

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Grading Scale:
I-II: Easy
III-IV: Intermediate
V-VI: Advanced
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Trumpet in chamber music - quintets and larger
(in alphabetical order, durations in parenthesis)

Brass Miniatures coverBRASS MINIATURES for brass quintet is in 4 short movements inspired by light and images reflected on polished brass: On the Edge, Refractions, Facets, and Illuminated Reflections. In 2018 the composer found a box labeled “1974” in a storage closet. It contained a collection of long-lost scores he had composed 4½ decades earlier. It was apparent that in these works was a trove of youthful musical ideas that could be developed, polished, and edited into exciting “new” compositions. The musical content of first 3 movements of is close to that in the 1974 brass quintet. The final movement was rewritten to include elements of the original score, but updated to be closer to Buss’ current musical language. While On the Edge, Refractions, and Facets, have a edginess to them; Illuminated Reflections is more consonant and lyrical. It includes references to material in the previous movements as well a buffed rendition of the opening melody of the first movement in its coda. (7’22”) Grade V.
Sound samples: Excerpt 1.mp3; Excerpt 2.mp3; Excerpt 3.mp3; Excerpt 4.mp3

- Score sample: Excerpts.pdf

Music available from Cimarron Music Press



BROM BONES for 10-part brass choir musically depicts the character and exploits of Washington Irving’s dashing prankster in The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. The ensemble consists of 4 Bb trumpets (an optional Eb part is included for trumpet 1), one French horn, 3 tenor trombones, one bass trombone and tuba. This entertaining work is in 5 movements:
Overture, The Smoke Out, The Schoolhouse Caper,
                   Ichabod’s Romance, and Night Encounter       
Following the energetic and heroic Overture, in The Smoke Out tone clusters represent the buildup of smoke in Ichabod’s singing school. Chorale-like passages suggest the music of the singers in training. The movement ends in transition, as Brom Bones and his small band of pranksters gallop off to their next adventure. The third movement, The Schoolhouse Caper, combines very aggressive and topsy-turvy passages with humorous, plodding interjections. Ichabod’s Romance begins as a beautiful unaccompanied ballad that is abruptly disturbed by a cacophony of muted brass, suggesting the whining of Brom’s mocking dog. Beautiful hymn-like sections serve as the backdrop to heartfelt solo passages, which are again disturbed by Brom’s annoying dog. The movement ends as it began, with the beautiful  solo. The intense final movement, Night Encounter, depicts Ichabod’s frightening and fateful run-in with the Headless Horseman, suspected by some to be Brom Bones in disguise.
(14’30”) Grade V-VI.   -   Video
on YouTube

Sound samples: Excerpt 1.mp3; Excerpt 2.mp3; Excerpt 3.mp3; Excerpt 4.mp3

Score sample: Excerpts.pdf

Music available from Cimarron Music Press



CHROMATIC FANTASY (1997) for brass quintet was composed for the United States Air Force Brass Quintet. This exciting “tour de force” is a riveting excursion through driving ostinati and sparkling chromatic flourishes. Chromatic Fantasy was premiered by the U.S.A.F. Brass Quintet at the Eastern Trombone Workshop hosted by the U.S. Army Band, "Pershing's Own." (8’) Grade V.
Sound Samples: Excerpt 1.mp3; Excerpt 2.mp3

Score sample: Excerpt.pdf

Music available from Cimarron Music Press



CONCORD (1990) for brass quintet teems with the vitality of youth. Lyrical passages are juxtaposed with fanfare-like sections to create a dramatic and festive atmosphere. Commissioned for the opening of a performing arts high school in Florida, this exciting composition was winner of the 1991 “Erik Satie Mostly Tonal Award.”
(6’) Grade V. - Video on YouTube

Sound Excerpts: Sample 1.mp3; Sample 2.mp3; Sample 3.mp3 Score sample: Excerpt.pdf

Music available from Cimarron Music Press


ECLIPSE for flute, oboe, clarinet, trumpet, horn, trombone, and three percussion was composed in 1974. There is a feeling of suspense throughout during this musical representation of a solar eclipse.
Sound Samples: Excerpt 1.mp3; Excerpt 2.mp3  - Video on YouTube                 

Order from  Subito Music.


FLOURISHES for two brass quintets. Antiphonal brass quintets face off in this dramatic showpiece that culminates in a dazzling climax. A conductor is suggested. (9') Grade V-VI.

Order from  Subito Music.




RENDEZVOUS (1994) for four B-flat trumpets and one percussion was commissioned for and premiered at the 1994 International Trumpet Guild Conference. Percussion: suspended cymbals, temple blocks, tam tam, tomtoms, and finger cymbals. The percussion writing employs primarily 2 mallet technique with some use of 4 mallets on the xylophone in a passage of repeated eighth note chords. Rendezvous was first performed during the 1994 I.T.G. Conference by percussionist David Collier and trumpeters James Ketch, Charles Gates, Roy C. Griffen and Craig Hurst. (8’) Grade V.
Sound Samples: Excerpt 1.mp3; Excerpt 2.mp3; Excerpt 3.mp3

Video on YouTube

Music available from Cimarron Music Press



SONATA K. 380 by Scarlatti, Domenico for brass quintet, transcribed by Howard J. Buss was originally composed for keyboard by Domenico Scarlatti around the year 1754 and was titled Sonata in E Major K. 380 (Longo 23). This transcription preserves the essential traits of the composer’s unique style, including his compositional use of register with florid treble parts and a strictly functional, supportive bass. (6’30”) Grade IV.

Music available from Cimarron Music Press



SONIC FABLES: “Lessons from Aesop” (1991) for brass quintet and one percussion. Entertaining musical representations of 6 of Aesop’s famous fables are presented between a Prelude and Postlude. The text of the fables is printed in the preface to the score and may be used as written program notes. Each fable may also by recited by a member of the ensemble or a narrator prior to performing the accompanying movement. Because of the programmatic subject matter and the colorful spirit of the music, this composition works well with all types of audiences, including those of children. Percussion: suspended cymbals, temple blocks, snare drum, tomtom, triangle, tambourine, wind chimes, xylophone, and tam-tam. The total duration is about 17 minutes. The 8 movements may be performed individually or in smaller groupings.
(18’) Grade V-VI.
Sound Excerpts: Prelude.mp3 (with the beginning of narrator's lead-in to the first fable)

The Hawk and the Nightingale.mp3; The Middle-Aged Man and His Two Mistresses.mp3;

The Cat and the Rooster.mp3 (excerpt) The PipingFisherman.mp3 (with the beginning of narrator's lead-in to the next movement)

The Fox and the Leopard.mp3; The Lion and the Bear.mp3; Postlude.mp3

Music available from Cimarron Music Press



SPANISH MEMOIRS (2004) for solo trumpet & percussion quartet. Spicy, zesty Latin rhythms are juxtaposed with soaring lyrical melodies influenced by jazz. The music is both accessible and sophisticated, audiences love it! Percussion distribution: Perc. 1: Vibes, snare drum, conga drum, tambourine, and wood block; Perc.2: Marimba, sand blocks, and claves; Perc.3: Marimba and guiro; Perc. 4: Marimba, bass drum, suspended cymbals, bongos, maracas and tam-tam.
(10’) Grade V.
"...sure to be applauded by soloist, ensemble and audience alike. A melodious trumpet part, an animated accompaniment featuring toe-tapping rhythms, some flashy mallet playing, and the influences of the jazz and Latin idioms will go a long way to ensure the success of this piece." - John R. Raush, Percussive Notes - June 2005.
Recorded on the CD Spanish Memoirs by Diego Arias and Yu-Jung Chung..

score sample.pdf, performance notes.pdf

Sound samples: Excerpt 1.mp3, Excerpt 2.mp3, Excerpt 3.mp3, Excerpt 4.mp3

Music available from Cimarron Music Press


Tribute To  Stephen Foster coverNew! TRIBUTE TO STEPHEN FOSTER “A Medley of Six Favorites” arranged for brass quintet by Howard J. Buss. Stephen Collins Foster (1826-1864) is often referred to as “the father of American music.” Many of his songs serve as a window into the spirit of America in his day. Others are exquisitely sentimental. Whether or not one approves of the lyrics of his minstrel songs, the enduring beauty and vitality of his melodies cannot be denied. In addition to the 6 Foster songs in this arrangement, Buss interjects 2 other well-known melodies. The “First Call” bugle call is woven into the tapestry of Camptown Races” and “The Girl I Left Behind Me” serves as a partner song to “Ring, Ring, the Banjo.”
I. “Old Black Joe” (2’)
II. “Camptown Races” (1’40”)
III. “Beautiful Dreamer” (2’15”)
IV. “Old Folks at Home” also known as “Swanee River” (2’12”)
V. “Ring, Ring the Banjo” – “Oh, Susannah!” (2’41”)
The movements may be played individually or in smaller groupings. The total duration is about 11’ without pauses between the movements. Grade V.
Score sample: Excerpts.pdf;

Sound Samples: Excerpt 1.mp3; Excerpt 2.mp3; Excerpt 3.mp3; Excerpt 4.mp3; Excerpt 5.mp3

Music available from Cimarron Music Press


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

Solo trumpet, unaccompanied

Trumpet with one other instrument, or voice, or electronic recording (includes trumpet & piano)

Trumpet ensembles

Trumpet solo with percussion ensemble

Trumpet in chamber music
- trios

Trumpet in chamber music - quartets (includes standard brass quartets)

Trumpet in chamber music - quintets and larger (includes standard brass quintets)

Trumpet and orchestra


Howard J. Buss, Composer     

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Trumpet Music, graded catalog of sheet music. Product description: Trumpet solos, duos, ensembles, chamber music and recordings.