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La Sonata modello
for piano solo
Difficulty: very difficult
La Sonata modello “The Template Sonata” for solo piano by Howard J. Buss was composed in 2020 and is dedicated to pianist James Helton.
The music traverses a wide rage of moods and sonic atmospheres. The composer chose to use a template of meter changes derived from the numerical series in mathematics codified by the medieval Italian mathematician, Leonardo Fibonacci: 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21… In this musical adaptation of the Fibonacci sequence each number represents a quarter note and is expressed in meters as follows:
1,1, 2 = 4/4
3 = 3/4
5 = 5/4
8 = 4/4 + 4/4
13 = 5/4 + 3/4 + 5/4
21 = 4/4 + 4/4 + 4/4 +4/4+ 5/4
The result is this succession of meters: 4/4, 3/4, 5/4, 4/4, 4/4, 5/4, 3/4, 5/4, 4/4, 4/4, 4/4, 4/4, and 5/4.
This series of measures is repeated throughout the composition. While each 13-bar segment implies that the music fits into a particular metrical scheme, the composer exerts independence in a variety of ways, such as with phrasing that sometimes ignores the underlying structure.
Buss states: “This metrical template was at times useful, but often seemed arbitrary and counter to the thrust and development of the musical material. My challenge was to find a way to work with the template while using its rigidity to spark creative solutions.
Although the music evolves within the template, my ultimate goal was that the listener be unaware of the structural underpinnings and simply enjoy the beauty of the music.”
Performance note: Whenever a chord has a trill notated above it such as in measure 26, trill only the top note.
About the Composer
Howard J. Buss (b.1951) is recognized internationally as a composer of contemporary classical music. His compositions have received critical acclaim and have been performed in more than 50 countries.
His music is frequently featured at national and international music conventions and festivals. Student and faculty musicians from universities as well as current and former members of organizations such as The Boston Symphony Orchestra, Minnesota Orchestra, Buffalo Philharmonic, Israel Philharmonic, Berlin Philharmonic, Vancouver Symphony, Atlanta Symphony, New York Philharmonic, Chicago Symphony, etc have performed them.
A copy of his patriotic composition Fanfares is included in the Presidential Collection of Ronald Reagan. Buss’ more than 190 published works include instrumental solos, chamber music, symphonic, choral, and band works.
Buss has received numerous awards and his commissioned works include original compositions as well as arrangements. His works are frequently analyzed in dissertations, lectures, professional music journals, and music literature bibliographies, and his compositions have been recorded on the Albany, Bottega Discantica (Italy), Crystal, Capstone, DUX (Poland), Equilibrium, HoneyRock, IBS Classical (Spain), PL Productions, C. Alan Publications, Ravello (PARMA), and Urania (Italy) labels.
Howard J. Buss received his B.A. in Applied Music from West Chester University, M.M. in Performance and M.M. in Composition from Michigan State University, and D.M.A. in Composition from the University of Illinois.
He is the founder and editor of Brixton Publications (ASCAP) and Buss Publications (BMI), which publish contemporary American concert music.