String Quartets by Brian Buch

Brian Buch

Min-Young Kim and Matilda Kaul, violins
Jessica Thompson, viola
Thomas Kraines, cello

World Premiere Recordings



“[These] are all interesting and inventive pieces that create contrasting atmospheres... The Daedalus Quartet is known for its work with and support of contemporary American composers, and it’s difficult to imagine these works receiving more sympathetic performances.”
Terry Robbins, The Whole Note [December 2018]
“[From the River Flow the Stars is a] neatly constructed and appealing triptych [and] catches the air of the poem very nicely... Buch’s interpretations of [ETA Hoffmann’s novel] in abstract...make ineffable musical sense and are virtuosically rendered here by the Daedalus Quartet. Likewise in Landscape No.1...”
Guy Rickards, Gramophone [June 2018]
"There is considerable lyricism in the two movements of the Tagore-inspired work, gentleness in the piece based on Japanese poetry, and a kind of dreamlike quality to the music interpreting and reacting to Ciurlionis’ art... Listeners will find that Buch’s music is...communicative and expressive..."
Mark J. Estren, InfoDad [March 2018]
FROM BRIAN BUCH: I often compose music in collections or books comprised of individual pieces. The method of inspiration for each collection unites and forms a sense of musical kinship within. The pieces on this album, composed between 2015 and 2016, are taken from the books From the River Flow the Stars, Acanthus Leaves, Life and Opinions, Landscapes and Maze of Infinite Forms.

From the River Flow the Stars is a book of short compositions based around ancient Japanese poetry. The character of these pieces seeks to discover enlightenment from loss and salvation in solitude. From the River Flow the Stars No.6 is composed in three movements and was inspired by this poem contained in the Kokin Wakashü:

I dwell nowadays
Among foot-wearying hills,
And there is no time
When the sleeves of my garments,
Black-dyed, are not wet with tears.

In E.T.A. Hoffman’s novel Life and Opinions of the Tomcat Murr, the tomcat Murr creates a collection of his most profound thoughts, of which he himself cannot understand, under the title of Acanthus Leaves. My attempts to reflect Murr’s wonderful and ineffable thoughts are reflected in the organically developed themes and motives of these pieces. The treatment of motivic development in Acanthus Leaves No.6 is specific to each instrument, register and location of occurrence. My goal in treating musical material as such is to create a sense of disorder within cohesion. These works often combine the serene and sublime with the insatiable volatility of fire.

Life and Opinions is another of my books of compositions, this one inspired by the protagonist of E.T.A. Hoffman’s novel of the same name. Each work of this book consists of a musical dialogue between contrasting ideas. The moods of these dialogues blend the contrasts of peace and chaos, vigor and lethargy, elation and despair, with an overall tinge of wonder and curiosity. Life and Opinions No.7 is composed in five short movements.

Landscapes is a collection of compositions inspired by visual elements. The music in Landscapes No.1 is my interpretation of the images and messages associated with artwork by Mikalojus Konstantinas Ciurlionis. The harmonic and melodic content is often dreamy and sonorous. The three movements of Landscapes No.1 are composed and titled after three of Ciurlionis’ works: Sparks, Mists and Creation of the World V.

Maze of Infinite Forms is a book of compositions based around the poetry of Rabindranath Tagore. The music in this collection reflects the spontaneous surrender of discovery and the vivid yet beautifully simplistic imagery in the poet’s works. Through large and smallscale developmental variation, a maze of thematic material is explored, providing a cohesive story of ever-changing direction. The music should be played in a romantic and intense style. Maze of Infinite Forms No.1 is composed in two movements.

American composer Brian Buch writes for all genres of classical and jazz music. Also a gifted pianist, Buch frequently performs in the classical and jazz idioms throughout the United States. Many of Buch’s compositions have received  national and international recognition, including honors and awards from the Queen Elisabeth Competition, Moscow Conservatory, Robert Helps, Lepo Sumera (Tallinn, Estonia) and Music Teachers National Association. His music has been widely performed in the United States, Canada, Italy, Russia, Estonia, Bosnia and Serbia, and broadcast on National Public Radio’s All Things Considered program, numerous NPR affiliate stations, Russian Television Network and Italy’s Radio Taukay online contemporary music station. Buch received his Bachelor of Music degree in Music Composition with an emphasis in Piano Performance from Indiana University and a Doctorate of Musical Arts in composition from Boston University. His primary teachers have been Alla Cohen, Sam Headrick, Richard Cornell and Sven-David Sandstrom. Buch is an affiliated artist at MIT and adjunct instructor at the New England Conservatory School of Continuing Education, and gives private instruction in composition, classical and jazz piano, and in theory and ear-training. [ www.brianbuch.com ]

The Daedalus Quartet has established itself as a leader of the new generation of string ensembles. Since Winning the top prize in the 2001 Banff International String Quartet Competition, the Quartet has performed in many of the world’s prominent musical venues including Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center and the Gardner Museum (Boston), and in Europe at the Musikverein, Mozarteum, Concertgebouw and Cité de la Musique. In addition to collaborating with some of the most distinguished composers of contemporary music, the Quartet regularly works with America’s leading classical music and educational institutions, and has released five albums under the Bridge recording label. Among the works the ensemble has premiered are Huck Hodge’s The Topography of Desire, commissioned by the Fromm Foundation; David Horne’s Flight from the Labyrinth, commissioned for the Quartet by the Caramoor Festival; Lawrence Dillon’s String Quartet No.4, commissioned by the Thomas S. Kenan Institute for the Arts; and Fred Lerdahl’s Third String Quartet, commissioned by Chamber Music America and his Chaconne, commissioned by New Music USA. The award-winning members of the Daedalus Quartet, violinists Min-Young Kim and Matilda Kaul, violist Jessica Thompson and cellist Thomas Kraines, hold degrees from the Juilliard School, Curtis Institute, Cleveland Institute and Harvard University. [ www.daedalusquartet.com ]
BRIAN BUCH (b.1984)
I. Andante
II. Lento cantabile
III. Allegro energico

I. Allegretto con calore
II. Largamente sognando
III. Allegretto

I. Largamente
II. Lentamente sognando
III. Adagio luminoso
IV. Moderato con bravura
V. Adagietto grazioso

I. Sparks
II. Mists
III. Creation of the World V

I. Larghetto con dolore
II. Adagio con calore

MSR Classics