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AWAKENING (2011) for solo harp by Howard
Buss is a charming, soulful composition which is strongly influenced
by the Jewish Klezmer idiom. The music moves from a mystical, contemplative
opening to an energetic finale. Color is added to the ensemble with the
use of wind chimes and finger rolls on the body of the
harp. This work is a memorable addition to any recital, and because
of its spiritual nature, makes a wonderful musical offering in a house
of worship. Written for Paola Devoti. (7) Grade IV. Recorded by Paola Devoti on the CD Jewish Memories (available from Brixton).
VEGA OF LYRA “The Harp Star” for solo harp by Howard J. Buss showcases both the agility and the beautiful, sonorous tone of the solo harp. It is dedicated to the renowned Italian harpist, Paola Devoti. The title refers to Vega, also known as Alpha Lyrae, the brightest star in the constellation “Lyra the Harp.” In Greek mythology, Vega’s constellation is said to be the harp played by Orpheus. The title has a dual meaning as it also refers to the person playing the composition. The character of Vega of Lyra ranges from lyric tenderness to powerful, and sometimes fiery technical displays. The music explores a wide array of sonic atmospheres and moods. The sophisticated music language coupled with soaring melodies and intriguing rhythms makes this composition an accessible concert work as well as an impressive contest piece. (7’30” ) Grade V.
Full performance on YouTube Sound samples: Excerpt_1.mp3; Excerpt_2.mp3; Excerpt_3 .mp3
Harp with one other instrument (top of page)
ALPINE SPRING (2008) for flute & harp by Howard J. Buss was composed for Italian flutist Elena Cecconi. Its picturesque Italian subtitle, Riflessi sul lago alpino, translates as “Alpine Lake Reflections” and is suggestive of the glorious awakening of Spring in the region immediately south of the Dolomite Mountains in northern Italy. As one listens to this music it is easy to imagine the glistening reflections of the dramatic Dolomite peaks and vibrant green spring foliage in the lake. Alpine Spring is divided into 2 main parts. The first is introspective and at times mysterious. The subdued quality of the music coupled with the beautiful melodic lines suggests the alluring enchantment of dawn at the lake. The festive second part is in an ABA-Coda format and mixes Buss’ unique style of soaring lyricism with crisp, energetic rhythms and colorful harmonies. The B section is developmental and at one point the flutist is asked to flutter tongue, suggesting the presence of birds. Alpine Spring received its world premier in 2008 in the Sala del Ridotto del Teatro Municipale in Piacenza, Italy by flutist Elena Cecconi and harpist Paola Devoti. This work is recorded on the CD Flauto e arpa by Elena Cecconi and Paola Devoti on the Bottega Discantica (Italy) label BDI 187. This CD is imported by and available from Brixton Publications CD-113. (11'30") Grade V-VI.
INNER QUEST (2011) for flute & harp by Howard J. Buss was written for the Italian duo of Elena Cecconi, flute, and Paola Devoti, harp. This beautiful and intriguing composition captures a wide range of emotions. The character and musical development of Inner Quest is analogous to the train of thoughts and feelings one may experience during a spell of internal dialog.
(7') Grade V.
Sound samples: Excerpt 1 (the opening).mp3; Excerpt 2.mp3; Excerpt 3 (the ending).mp3
LUMINOUS HORIZONS for bassoon and harp by Howard J. Buss was inspired by the spectacular photos of Pluto taken by the New Horizons probe. The title refers to one image in particular, the stunning backlit photo showing the illuminated blue sky of Pluto. The austere, yet beautiful surface of the planet reveals rugged mountains, craters, and ice plains. All of these observations are incorporated into the musical fabric of this work one way or another. Written for Richard Meek and the 2016 IDRS Conference. (9’) Grade V.
RHAPSODY AND ALLEGRO (2000) for piccolo & harp by Robert Frank. The first movement alternates between free, cadenza-like material and metered, coordinated passages. The second is playful with soaring, lyrical melodies. Commissioned for Diane Boyd, premiered at the 2000 N.F.A. Convention in Columbus, Ohio. (8) Grade V.
Movement 1, Excerpt.mp3; Movement 2, Excerpt (the ending).mp3
SEASIDE REFLECTIONS (1993) flute & harp by Howard J. Buss captures the serenity of musing by the sea. On the preface page to the score is printed the following free verse by the composer. It is suggested that the poem be narrated immediately before the performance and/or printed in the program notes to set the mood for the music: On the shore of eternity swirling currents of liquid chaos gather for and disperse as foam. As rock wears to sand all dissonance transforms to serenity. Time presses no longer. Dedicated to Brian Luce and Carrol McLaughlin. This is a memorable recital piece with real audience appeal. (750") Grade IV.
Seaside Reflections (flute & harp version) sound samples: Excerpt 1.mp3, Excerpt 2.mp3
Seaside Reflections for clarinet and harp sound sample: Excerpt.mp3
ZOOM (2011) for bass trombone (or tuba) and harp by Howard J. Buss was commissioned by Brandt Attema and Astrid Haring and written during the winter of 2010-11. The composition was inspired by the spectacular images as seen through a satellite camera as the composer zoomed in on the coastline of The Netherlands. The strong narrative quality of the music couples with Buss’ unique style of soaring lyricism with crisp, energetic rhythms and colorful harmonies, makes this work accessible to a wide array of different types of audiences. (10'30") Grade VI.
Sound samples: Excerpt 1.mp3; Excerpt 2.mp3; Excerpt 3.mp3; Excerpt 4, the ending.mp3
View at ZOOM: YouTube Video
Harp in chamber music (top of page)
SAINT FRANCIS AND THE ANIMALS for flute, clarinet & harp by Howard J. Buss is a tribute to St. Francis of Assisi, the venerated Catholic friar, preacher, founder of several Orders, and lover of animals and the environment. Cast in 2 programmatic movements, The Birds, and The Wolf, this composition musically portrays two of the many well-known stories of how Saint Francis communicated with animals. Saint Francis and the Animals was commissioned by Kathleen Jones for ClarinetFest 2013 in Assisi, Italy. (11’30”) Grade V.
Sound Samples: Movement I, excerpt 1.mp3; Movement 1, excerpt 2.mp3; Movement II, excerpt 1.mp3; Movement II, excerpt 2.mp3; Movement II, excerpt 3.mp3
Videos on YouTube: I. The Birds, and II. The Wolf
Imported from Bottega Discantica (Italy) BDI 248
Jewish Memories, Paola Devoti, harp
All of these compositions for solo harp are performed by one of the world's greatest harpists, Paola Devoti.
Howard J. Buss - Awakening* (published by Brixton) 6:56 Listen
*World Premiere Recording
Imported from Bottega Discantica (Italy) BDI 188
Music or CDs may only be returned if defective.
String Music Index:
(Click on an instrumentation link, works are listed in alphabetical order within each category.)
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