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Toccata and Retro-Invention
for piano solo
Difficulty: very difficult
Toccata and Retro-Invention for solo piano by Howard J. Buss is dedicated to University of Arizona piano professor, Rex Woods.
The titles of the two movements of this composition form a kinship with the toccatas and inventions of the Baroque era, but with a modern twist.
They capture the spirit of the earlier forms, rather than the actual compositional procedures.
Notes to the performer:
This composition is written without a key signature. Because of frequent chromatic shifts, colorful chord structures with mixed accidentals (such as in measure 13) and cross-relations, courtesy accidentals are used liberally throughout the piece.
Use of the sustain pedal is specifically indicated in a few places. The player may elect to use it briefly and sparingly in other spots for expressive purposes. When a trill is indicated above a dyad, only the top note is to be trilled.
Articulation marks are used sparingly throughout, thus giving the performer some interpretive latitude. Generally, it is suggested that the pianist use a somewhat secco, detached articulation.
Toccata Duration 4’56”
Retro-Invention Duration 3’43”
The total performance time with a short pause between movements about 9 minutes.
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 widely performed and frequently featured at national and international music conventions and festivals. Faculty and student musicians 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 280 published works include instrumental solos, chamber music, symphonic, choral, and band works.
They are published by Smith Publications, Seesaw Music Corp. (Subito Music) and Brixton Publications. Buss has received numerous awards and his commissioned works include original compositions as well as arrangements. His works are frequently included and analyzed in doctoral dissertations, lectures, and professional music journals.
They have been recorded on the Albany, Bottega Discantica (Italy), Crystal, Capstone, DUX (Poland), Equilibrium, 4-Tay, HoneyRock, IBS Classical (Spain), PL Productions, C. Alan Publications, Ravello, Soundview, and Urania (Italy) labels.
“The night’s most memorable piece” - The Los Angeles Times, “This is truly one of the finest works in our idiom” - Robert McCormick in the Florida Percussive News, “The evening’s highlight” - The Maine Sunday Telegram, and “Buss’ music is a mix of intellect and fun. There is a complexity here that is most appealing.” – Fanfare Magazine
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.