Unless preceded by concert credits, audio excerpts are MIDI realizations.
Violin and piano 2003), 8 1/2’
A setting of the solo piano work.
Violin and piano (2008), ca. 2’
A setting of the solo piano work.
Dancing at the Pink House
Clarinet and piano (2006), ca. 12’
A virtuoso clarinet piece combining dance rhythms with lyrical sections and an ongoing tribute to swing-era music, as well as appearances of “America the Beautiful.” Recorded by Patricia Shands and James Winn.
Excerpt from the studio recording by Patricia Shands and James Winn.
A free download of the complete recording is available at bandcamp.com.
Braided River Nights
Alto flute and marimba (2004), ca. 12’
An essay on the sensuous beauty of the alto flute and large marimba. Like the river after which the work is named, the two instruments are continually intertwined. One aspect of the piece suggests an exotic, romantic atmosphere; another – with its fleeting tunes - is reminiscent of traditional American riverside celebrations, especially near the end, with its quotation of Robert Lowry’s famous hymn, “Shall We Gather at the River.” Recorded for Albany Records.
Performance material is available from Steve Weiss Music
Studio recording by Mathew Krejci, flute and Matthew Darling, marimba
Sonata for Violin and percussion (with string bass obbligato)
(2000), ca. 27’
A three-movement work for violin and percussionist playing vibraphone, string bass and tam-tam. The amplified bass is used both as a pitched instrument, with its strings struck by yarn mallets, and as a wood drum, sounded by mallets and hands. I – Aide-memoire; II – Dance; III – Finale. Recorded on Albany Records.
Performance material available at Steve Weiss Music .
Piano and drum set (2009), 9’
A relentless, driving piece for piano and expanded drum set. Composed for the duo DivaDi.
Two marimbas (2013), 4’
Quick shifts, hockets, feints, and fast-paced misdirection.
Cello, vibraphone and piano (2006), ca. 10’
Composed for cellist Victoria Ehrlich and premiered by the Adesso Trio : Victoria Ehrlich, Jodi Gandolfi, and Rick Kvistad.
Quiet material folds back on itself and reappears in slightly altered ways, and, at its close, hints at continued looping.
Concert recording: Victoria Ehrlich, cello; Rick Kvistad, vibraphone; Jodi Gandolfi, piano
Full Court Press
Cello, vibraphone and piano (2009), ca. 12’
A fast-paced sequel to Loop, composed for the Odessa Trio, and inspired by a women’s basketball team, whose success was based on its nonstop, high-energy play.
Quartet for flute, violin, english horn, and bass clarinet
(1961), ca. 8’
An early serial composition that evolves from quick shifting melodic fragments to extended melodic chains, coloristically distributed among the four instruments. “Delicate not only in its sonorities but also in its form,” wrote the NY Times after a Tanglewood performance directed by Lukas Foss. “It has movement and direction.”
Clarinet, cello, and two mallet players (2000), ca. 13’
Written as a modern dance score that celebrates the new millennium, and driven by dance rhythms, including fast tangos and waltzes.
The Hundredth Monkey
Percussion quartet (1994), ca. 16’
Scored for a large battery of drums, cymbals, gongs, mallet, and auxiliary instruments, as well as vocal and body percussion. Composed for the Jovan Percussion Group, it was inspired by the Balinese Monkey Chant, which uses vocalizations to celebrate Prince Rama’s rescue by a horde of monkeys.
Score and performance materials are available from Steve Weiss Music.
Excerpt from US premiere: Daniel Kennedy, Michael Bayard, Victor Avdienko, Tomm Rolannd
Sketches from Life ( I – Angels on the Roof)
One live and four pre-recorded string quartets (1985), ca. 8’
A spatial piece, with a live quartet on stage and four pre-recorded quartets surrounding the audience. Each of the five ensembles plays a variation on slowly-evolving held notes, embellished by passing elaborations of harmonic showers and small melodic cells. Time is notated spatially and marked by a conductor, whose arms describe the motions of a clock.
The Gretchen Cycle
String quartet (2011), ca. 33’
Schubert songs (Gretchen at the Spinning Wheel, Night and Dreams) create a foundation for the opening movements and generate the cycle’s heroine. I – Spin, Gretchen!; II – Night: Sleep and Dream, Gretchen; III – Gretchen Goes Dancing; IV – Gretchen Unbound
Woodwind quintet (2007), ca. 13’
Flute (piccolo/alto flute), oboe (english horn), clarinet (bass clarinet), horn, bassoon. In one movement.
Woodwind quintet (2011), ca. 21’
In four movements, played without pause and joined by connective material.
Brass quintet (2013), 6’
Flute, clarinet, piano, violin, and cello (1994), ca. 15’
A meditative work that alternates between simple sections and complex polyphony, in which the instruments, each with its own character and speed, freely intermingle with each other.
The Pony Concerto
Flute (piccolo, alto flute), clarinet, piano, violin, cello (2005), ca. 33
I – Pony’s Day Begins; Pony Dances and Dreams; II – From His Starry Field, Pony Watches Bombs Fall; III – Pony Runs and Runs. Recorded on Albany Records.
Excerpts from studio recordings
A complete recording of The Pony Concerto is available on CD and downloads.
The sensitive and exciting music of Howard Hersh belongs in the American canon.