Saxophone Music by Howard J. Buss

Compositions and Arrangements
Grading Scale:
I-II: Easy
III-IV: Intermediate
V-VI: Advanced
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Saxophone Music                                                                    
Click on an instrumentation link, works are listed in alphabetical order within each category.

Saxophone, unaccompanied

Saxophone with one other instrument
(includes sax and piano, sax and electronic recording, and an alto and tenor duo)

Saxophone duets

Saxophone trio

Saxophone quartets

Saxophone in chamber music

                              


Solo Saxophone, unaccompanied (Works are listed in alphabetical order.)

A DAY IN THE CITY “7 Vignettes” (1986) for solo saxophone (any) by Howard J. Buss. These musical scenes from the city are excellent study and recital pieces. Each vignette depicts an experience the composer had one day during a visit to New York City. The movements are Another Sunrise, Off to a Busy Day, The Lost Key Episode, The Waitin' in Line Blues, Romantic Interlude, Sudden Storm and Out on the Town. "Tonal, charming and imaginative! The low purchase price and the incisive approach of a skilled composer make this a piece worth seeking out.”- PMEA News (10’) Grade IV. Score sample: Excerpts.pdf

Music available from Cimarron Music Press



MIDNIGHT OMEN (1992) for solo sax (any) by Howard J. Buss evokes the mystery and enchantment of the night. Based on a 12-tone row, the music contrasts quiet, lyrical sections with intense and energetic passages. The musical effect is analogous to the nocturnal calm when interrupted by "things that go bump in the night." (4’30”) Grade V.
Score sample: Excerpts.pdf

Music available from Cimarron Music Press


Saxophone with one other instrument, or sax & electronic recording, or alto & tenor duo   

Alien Loop de Loops sax coverALIEN LOOP DE LOOPS for sax (Bb soprano or tenor) and electronic recording by Howard J. Buss is a playful fantasy piece designed to appeal to a wide range of audiences. The title refers to both programmatic and technical elements in the work. The composer envisioned a performer outside during an air show by an alien craft. During the opening section he/she plays alone, but then is joined by the recording, which contains sounds generated by traditional instruments as well as an "alien" voice, the spacecraft, and various electronic effects. Technically, the title refers to how the recording was made. It consists of numerous sound loops combined to form an imaginative sonic tapestry.
(6’47”) Grade V.
Soprano sax sound samples: Excerpt 1.mp3; Excerpt 2.mp3; Excerpt 3.mp3; Excerpt 4.mp3

Tenor sax version sound samples: Excerpt 1.mp3; Excerpt 2.mp3; Excerpt 3.mp3; Excerpt 4.mp3

Music available from Cimarron Music Press



Fables from Aesop sax and violin coverFABLES FROM AESOP for violin and alto sax by Howard J. Buss in 5 movements: The Dog Who Chased a Lion, The Astronomer, The Camel Who Wanted Horns, The Crow and The Pitcher, and The Rabbits and the Frogs.  The texts of the fables are written in the score for each movement and may be read aloud by a performer or narrator prior to performance. This work is a hit with all kinds of audiences and, including those comprised of children. (13’) Grade V.
Score sample: Excerpts.pdf

Music available from Cimarron Music Press



IMPROMPTU (1994) for clarinet (or soprano sax) and marimba by Howard J. Buss is characterized by driving rhythms and ornate melodic lines. The opening motives in both parts undergo almost continuous development throughout, often giving the work a spontaneous, improvisatory feel. At times the music has a playful, almost frolicking quality. At other times mysterious and introspective passages contrast with intense sections to create an atmosphere of moodiness. Two-mallet technique is prominent in the marimba part during the more intricate solo passages and there is some use of 3 and 4 mallets in those sections where chordal writing occurs. “A very accessible and enjoyable work.” - Percussive Notes. (6’) Grade V.
Sound Samples (played on soprano sax): Excerpt 1.mp3; Excerpt 2.mp3

Score sample: Excerpts.pdf - Video on YouTube

Music available from Cimarron Music Press



NOVELLA (1991) for alto sax & piano by Howard J. Buss was written for Ken Fischer. In creating this work the composer was concerned with how diverse emotions interact with one another when they are juxtaposed and intertwined in a musical context. The emotions expressed in the course of the musical dialogue range from lyric tenderness to intense aggression. The dramatic quality of this music coupled with zesty dance-like sections make this an exciting feature number on a program.
(7’20”)  Grade V.  Score sample: Excerpts.pdf - View on YouTube

Music available from Cimarron Music Press



Saxy coverSAXY for tenor sax and piano by Howard J. Buss, dedicated to saxophonist, Dr. Barry McGinnis, is in 2 movements: Moody and Slap-Happy. The sax part incorporates some special effects such as slap and smack tonguing, the wood block slap, pitch bends, and growl, all done in a playful manner. Dr. McGinnis and Dr. Sarah Masterson premiered it at the 2018 North American Saxophone Alliance Conference. (10'45") Grade V. YouTube video

Sound samples: Movement 1: excerpt 1.mp3,excerpt 2.mp3;

Movement 2: excerpt 1.mp3, excerpt 2.mp3

Music available from Cimarron Music Press
   



Sounscapes by Howard Buss coverSOUNDSCAPES for saxophone (Eb alto doubling on Bb tenor) and drum set by Howard J. Buss was written for Dr. Barry McGinnis. It is in 4 movements: I. Urban Bustle, IIa. Blueish Serenity, IIb. In Transit, and III.  Spiritosity. Movements I. and III. are scored for alto sax, and movements IIa. and IIb. are for tenor sax. The percussionist uses a standard drum set and wind chimes. (14’30”) Grade V.
Grade V. Sound samples: Movement I excerpt.mp3;

Movement IIa excerpt.mp3; Movement IIb.mp3; Movement III excerpt.mp3

Music available from Cimarron Music Press



THREE JAZZICALS (2009) for Bb soprano sax & tuba by Howard J. Buss is in three movements: To Bop or Not to Bop, Sounds from the Cool Smoke, and Hotish. Buss states, “ It was not my aim to create a specific hybrid style by synthesizing jazz and modern classical music; rather, my intent was to systematically strip away the fundamental elements of jazz to explore at what point the music ceases being jazz and becomes classical. The style is the resultant this procedure. It is understood that because the subject of what constitutes jazz (there are so many kinds) is so complex, depending upon the background and views of the listener, this work will sound jazzy (in varying degrees) to most, and mostly classical to some.” The instruments used have been traditionally used in jazz. However, stripped away is the rhythm section; traditional chord progressions; melodic, rhythmic and formal clichés; and improvisation. Among the elements kept is the allowance for personal expression through each player’s tone, inflections, and articulations. (12’) Grade V.
Sound samples: Movement 1.mp3; Movement 2.mp3; Movement 3.mp3

Music available from Cimarron Music Press



Time Capsule sax duo cover
TIME CAPSULE for Eb alto and Bb tenor sax by Howard J. Buss is in 4 movements: Daybreak has a frolicking character. Chorale breaks with the typical chorale in that each phrase gets a measure longer. Rendezvous, is in a lilting 6/8. Homeward Bound, begins with a fanfare passage that gives way to a spirited dance-like section.
(7’) Grade IV-V.Score sample: Excerpts.pdf

Music available from Cimarron Music Press


Saxophone duets


Time Capsule sax duo cover

TIME CAPSULE for Eb alto and Bb tenor sax by Howard J. Buss is in 4 movements: Daybreak has a frolicking character. Chorale breaks with the typical chorale in that each phrase gets a measure longer. Rendezvous, is in a lilting 6/8. Homeward Bound, begins with a fanfare passage that gives way to a spirited dance-like section.
(7’) Grade IV-V.Score sample: Excerpts.pdf

Music available from Cimarron Music Press


Saxophone trio      (Top of Page)

Aquarius for sax trio

AQUARIUS for saxophone trio (alto, tenor, and baritone) by Howard J. Buss. The two movements are At the Glow of Dawn (3’) and Ocean Blue (3’50”). This work explores a variety of sonic atmospheres and moods.
(7') Grade V.


Sound samples: Movement 1 - 1.mp3, 2.mp3;   Movement 2 - 1.mp3, 2.mp3, 3.mp3

Score samples: Movement 1- excerpt.pdf; Movement 2 - excerpt.pdf

Music available from Cimarron Music Press


Saxophone quartets           (Top of Page)

Ave Verum sax quartet cover

AVE VERUM CORPUS by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, arranged for sax quartet (soprano, alto, tenor and baritone) by Howard J. Buss. Multiple performers may be used on the parts to expand the ensemble. (3’30”) Grade III.

Music available from Cimarron Music Press


   
Canzona for sax quartet coverCANZONA by Florentio Maschera (1540-1584) arranged for sax quartet (soprano, alto, tenor and baritone) by Howard J. Buss is in the imitative style of the late Renaissance. Multiple performers may be used on the parts to expand the ensemble. (2’30”) Grade III.
Sound Sample: Excerpt.mp3

Music available from Cimarron Music Press



DRY BONES, the well-known African American spiritual (the foot bone's connected to the leg bone, the leg bone's connected to the...), arranged for sax quartet (soprano, alto, tenor and baritone) by Howard J. Buss, makes a fun concert feature as well as a rousing musical offering in church. Multiple players may be used on each part to expand the ensemble. The introduction begins hymn-like, then breaks out in a jubilant jazzy section. This is followed by a more traditional rendering of the spiritual. As the music reaches its climax, the jazz "licks" from the introduction are brought back as counterpoint against the main melody of the spiritual. (2’30”) Grade IV.
Sound sample: Excerpt.mp3

Music available from Cimarron Music Press



Fuga VII sax quartet coverFUGA VII (from the Well-Tempered Clavier, Book II) by Johann Sebastian Bach was transcribed by Howard J. Buss for sax quartet (soprano, alto, tenor & baritone) is appropriate for performance in church. Multiple performers may be used on the parts to expand the ensemble.
(2’30”) Grade III.
Sound Sample: Excerpt.mp3

Music available from Cimarron Music Press



Levi's Dream for sax quartet coverLEVI'S DREAM for sax quartet (soprano, alto, tenor and baritone) by Howard J. Buss has a distinctly Middle-eastern flavor. The title refers to an imagined dream of Levi, the namesake of the Israelite tribe. The Levites were known for their involvement in priestly duties and music. Based on Jewish melodies, this work is effective in the concert hall or a house of worship.
(7’) Grade IV-V.
YouTube Video

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

Music available from Cimarron Music Press



Ricercare sax quartet coverRICERCARE (originally Ricercare on C) by Andrea Gabriel (1510-1586) transcribed for sax quartet (soprano, alto, tenor & baritone) by Howard J. Buss. Written in the imitative style of the late Renaissance, it makes an excellent concert feature or a stirring offering in church. Multiple performers may be used on the parts to expand the ensemble.
(2’30”) Grade III.
Sound Sample: Excerpt.mp3

Music available from Cimarron Music Press


Saxophone in chamber music             (Top of Page)

COSMIC PORTRAITS (2009) for flute, clarinet, alto sax & tenor sax by Howard J. Buss consists of three movements inspired by views of objects in the Milky Way galaxy. The titles of the first 2 movements, The Backbone of Night and The Pale Blue Dot are taken from the writings of the renowned astrophysicist, Carl Sagan. In his book, Cosmos, he describes how the !Kung Bushman in Botswana refer to the Milky Way as “the backbone of night.” The spine of the Milky Way often appears directly over the Kalahari Desert. The !Kung believe it to be the structural foundation of the heavens and that one of its functions in relation to Earth, among many, is that it holds up the darkness.In his book, The Pale Blue Dot, Sagan poetically describes a haunting view of Earth from a distant point in our galaxy. He puts our worldly concerns into cosmic perspective when he refers to all that has ever happened to human beings as occurring “on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.” The final movement, Orbitals, suggests celestial bodies revolving around one another in a fascinating cosmic dance. Moons orbiting planets, planets around suns, suns around other suns culminate in the swirling wonder of our galaxy. Recorded on the album "Cosmic Portraits" performed by flutist Caterina Stocchi, clarinetist Antonio Fraioli, and saxophonists Caterina Villari and Emma Nicòl Pigato. Available from Apple Music and Spotify.
(18’10”) Grade V.
Sound samples: Movement1.mp3; Movement.2.mp3; Movement 3.mp3
 
YouTube performances can be viewed at: Movement I., Movement II., Movement III.

Sheet music available from Cimarron Music Press



ESCAPADE (1991) for alto sax and 4 percussion by Howard J. Buss explores a sequence of emotional states which develop over a talea, a fixed pattern of time values. Except during the extended sax cadenza, this repeating rhythmic pattern can be heard throughout the work in varying degrees of intensity. At times it is forcibly presented by the musicians moving in rhythmic unison. On other occasions the talea is fragmented and distributed among the players. Frequently this rhythmic pattern is embedded in the presentation of melodic material similar to the technique of isorhythm as it was employed by 14th-century masters such as Machaut and de Vitry. The continuous variation of the unifying talea coupled with the work’s intriguing melodies and exotic timbral contrasts, make this an accessible concert work. Percussion distribution: Percussion 1: Timpani, temple blocks, snare drum, and suspended cymbals; Percussion 2: Orchestra bells, xylophone, maracas, triangle, cow bells, suspended cymbal, and chime tree; Percussion 3: Vibes, tam-tam, roto toms, and claves; Percussion 4: Marimba, guiro, and suspended cymbals. “By far the night’s most memorable piece.” - The Los Angeles Times. (11’30”) Grade IV-V.
Sound Samples: Excerpt 1.mp3; Excerpt 2.mp3; Excerpt 3.mp3 - View on YouTube

Music available from Cimarron Music Press



Sonic Tapestries coverSONIC TAPESTRIES for violin, alto sax, and piano by Howard J. Buss was written for Drs. Rachael and Stephen Fischer for the 2020 North American Saxophone Alliance Conference. The three movements explore a diversity of moods and intriguing musical atmospheres and textures. Variegated, Pensive, and Cosmopolitan Strands.
Total duration without pauses: 11’ Grade V.
Sound samples - Movement 1: Excerpt 1.mp3; Excerpt 2.mp3; Excerpt 3.mp3

Movement 2: Excerpt 1.mp3; Excerpt 2.mp3; Excerpt 3.mp3

Movement 3: Excerpt 1.mp3; Excerpt 2.mp3; Excerpt 3.mp3

Score sample: Excerpt.pdf -
 YouTube video

Music available from Cimarron Music Press



Visitations from the Dark coverVISITATIONS FROM THE DARK for alto sax, bass clarinet, and piano by Howard J. Buss was written for Drs. Barry McGinnis, Karl Kolbeck, and Sarah Masterson for the 2020 North American Saxophone Alliance Conference. The 3 movements traverse a wide diversity of moods and sonic atmospheres ranging from the mysterious, to soaring, spirited, and playful passages: Mirages (3’30”), Midnight Messenger  (3’47”), Sprites (4’03”). Total duration without pauses: 11’20” Grade V.
Sound samples- Movement 1: Excerpt 1.mp3; Excerpt 2.mp3;

Movement 2: Excerpt 1.mp3; Excerpt 2.mp3; Movement 3: Excerpt 1.mp3; Excerpt 2.mp3

Score sample: Excerpt.pdf - YouTube video

Music available from Cimarron Music Press


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Howard J. Buss, Composer       

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Sax sheet music, graded online catalog.

Product description: Saxophone Concert Music: Solos, Duos, Sax Quartets, Sax in Chamber Music