Rounds and Dances

I. Fanfare

II. Sarabande

III. Carioca

IV. Idyl Galop




Jan Bach (b. 1937)

Composer Information

Jan Bach has taught theory and composition at Northern Illinois University since 1966. In 1982 he was awarded a prestigious Presidential Research Professorship grants instituted by NIU. His composition teachers have included Roberto Gerhard, Aaron Copland, Kenneth Gaburo, Robert Kelly and Thea Musgrave. Bach was awarded the Koussevitsky award at Tanglewood (1961), first prize at the first International Brass Congress in Montreux, Switzerland (1974), and first prize in the New York City Opera competition for a one-act opera (1980).


E.C. Schirmer Music Co.





Ranking Position



Stravinsky - Previn - Bernstein: Music for Brass Ensemble by Johan Silvmark, Stockholm Chamber Brass, Stockholm Chamber Ensemble, Roland Pontinen & Love Derwinger: BIS, 1995.

Something New... Contemporary Works for Brass Quintet by Mardi Brass: London Independent Records, 2008.


Types of Instruments/Mutes

Standard formation. All instruments require straight mute, trumpets also need a harmon mute.


Final Considerations

The overall difficulty level of this piece is less demanding when compared to Laudes from the same composer. Although there are moments that will test advanced player. The composer uses some interesting color change techniques, such as playing on and over the stand. This is a fascinating piece in many aspects, as the composer describes it:


“Rounds and Dances was a joint commission by the four principal American brass organizations and was composed during the summer of 1980. It received its premieres in 1981 at both the National Trombone Workshop in Nashville, Tennessee (by the Eastman Brass Quintet) and the International Trumpet Guild convention in Boulder, Colorado (by the University of Wisconsin Brass Quintet). It is a suite of five short movements conceived primarily in terms of the ensemble rather than the individual parts. 


The first and fourth movements are canonic in nature: in the Fanfare the instruments enter in score order, moving down from the movement's Trumpet I beginning; in Idyl the instruments enter in ascending order from the tuba's opening solo. These two movements contrast in spirit as well as form; the Fanfare is rhythmically exciting, assertive, and comes dangerously close to being trapped in its repetitions, while the Idyl is quiet and introspective, with a "long line" that builds steadily to a climactic outcome. 


The remaining movements, homophonic in texture, are generic dance forms of Europe and South America. In the second movement, Sarabande, each instrument has the opportunity to display its soloistic technique against the unvarying, slow dance background of the remaining instruments. Carioca, the third movement, is a lively dance featuring an unusual opening texture with its own, built-in echo effect. The concluding "fast and fleet" Galop is the quickest movement of the set, poking gentle fun at Rossini among other composers of Allegro movements. This movement follows the Idyl without pause”