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The Heavens Awaken (score & parts) - BSN/STG4

Composer: Buss, Howard

Publisher: Brixton Publications

Edition: B415


The Heavens Awaken
for bassoon and string quartet
by Howard J. Buss (b. 1951)- American composer


The Heavens Awaken for solo bassoon and string quartet was written during the Winter of 2007-8 and is dedicated to bassoonist Arnold Irchai. The structure of this composition is highly symbolic in that it was inspired by the details of the visions of the priest Ezekiel while living with the Jewish exiles in Babylon. Sometime between 580 and 600 BC Ezekiel saw a powerful, glowing, and complex entity appear in the sky out of a "great cloud". he believe it be an appearance of God: "Also out of the midst thereof came the likeness of four living creatures. And this was their appearance; they had the likeness of a man" (Ezekiel 1:5 KJV).

The number four figures prominently in the structure of the fiery object. Each of the four creatures had four faces, four wings, four sides, etc. Ezekiel refers to the roar of the vision as the "voice of speech" and at the object's departure he "heard a voice of one that spake". Ezekiel also described the complexity of the entity's wheels (wheels within wheels) that he believed to be all-seeing eyes.

The formal scheme of The Heavens Awaken is programmatic in the sense that the sequence of events described in the vision is musically represented in a general way. The serene opening gradually becomes mysterious and gives way to a series of passages that serve as an ominous portent to the arrival of the airborne object. The four stringed instruments, each with four strings, four tuning pegs, and humanlike bodies shape symbolize the "four creatures" of the vision. The bassoon represents the "voice"of what Ezekiel believes is God. (It should be noted that many people also have interpreted his vision as s sighting of a UFO, described with the insights and vocabulary of the day). 

Duration: 12:30