In its April 2005 issue, The Gramophone, a leading audiophile magazine based in England, selected the CD Howard J. Buss: Modern Times to be included among "The best new recordings from North America."
"Composer Howard J. Buss has won a number of awards, and this varied survey offers a worthy overview of his music." Lawrence A, Johnson, The Gramophone, April 2005
And specifically about Buss' Scenes from the Holy Land:
"The opening section, 'Masada' presents angular solos against percussion accents, with ascending legato passages for the flute. The music turns more florid and Middle-Eastern in style before a peaceful coda. 'Storm on Mount Sinai' offers sharply rhythmic music accented with tambourine and a more febrile bazaar-like flute writing. 'The Flock by the Sea of Galilee' contains an oddly memorable five-note percussion motif under a lovely bucolic flute theme. 'The Road to Jerusalem' makes a haunting finale with elaborate passages against pulsating percussion. Scenes from the Holy Land is an effective and colorful work with deftly varied music and tackled by musicians with the skill and understated virtuosity Buss' intimate style requires. It makes its effects with point and economy and would be a boon to flute and percussion duos looking for material." Lawrence A, Johnson, The Gramophone, April 2005
Percussive Notes - October, 2004
"This CD presents four compositions for percussion by Howard J. Buss. The first is "Overture," a brilliantly scored quartet written for and performed by the OSA Quartet de Percussion in Spain. The second work, "Scenes From the Holy Land," is a duo for flute and percussion written in five movements, with each musically describing musical idioms of the Middle East. The performance by the McCormick Duo is outstanding.
"Currents" is a percussion quartet that explores both timbral and metric modulations. There is a bit of theater involved, since one member of the quartet conducts using a carpenter's saw. Textures are fresh and creative, with the rhythmic sounds of sawing on a board, plus other unusual sound sources. The work was premiered by the University of Illinois Percussion Ensemble, Thomas Siwe conductor, in 1977.
The final composition, "Modern Times," is a 30-minute work for flute and percussion ensemble, plus narrator. The piece is presented in eight short movements with the narrator speaking lyrics or phrases from various social settings. The piece is often amusing, with nonsense lyrics often taken from pop culture, but the flute and percussion writing is challenging and far from frivolous. This performance by the University of South Florida Percussion Ensemble, Bob McCormick conductor, is brilliant.
These works demonstrate that Buss is one of our more creative writers for percussion. The performances are of the highest artistic quality."