Dances and Interludes

Composer: Buss, Howard J.
Instrumentation: Mixed Ensemble Instruments: Cello, Guitar, Viola, Violin
Genre: Contemporary

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Guitar and String Quartet (2 Violins, Viola and Cello)

Dances and Interludes for guitar and string quartet by Howard J. Buss was adapted from the composer’s solo guitar composition of the same name. It features three contrasting, dance-like sections that are preceded with a soulful introduction and separated by developmental interludes. For the dance music, the composer was inspired by styles from three countries: the songo from Cuba, bossa nova from Brazil, and rumba flamenco from Spain. 

Traditionally, the songo combines elements of the folkloric rumba with popular Cuban dance music. The Latin beat of the songo is specifically designed for the drum set. Although drums are not used in this work, the first dance, ala songo, captures the choppy and energetic flavor of the Cuban model.

At first the interlude separating the first two dance sections continues with the vigor of the songo, but gradually its intensity is dialed back to set up the mood for the second dance, ala bossa nova. This section is characterized by the smoother, more relaxed quality of this popular Brazilian style. It gradually gives way to the final dance, ala rumba flamenco. The energetic strumming patterns, colorful effects, percussive interjections with the palm of the hand and fingertips capture the spirit of this exciting Andalusian genre.

Dances and Interludes for guitar and string quartet was premiered in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania on March 26, 2024 by members of the Allentown Symphony Orchestra: John Arnold, guitar; violinists Eliezer Gutman and Inna Eyzerovich; violist Pamela Jacobson; and cellist Hikaru Tamaki.


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