Three Japanese Dances

From Wind Repertory Project
Bernard Rogers

Bernard Rogers (ed. Timothy Topolewski)

General Info

Year: 1933 / 1955 / 2001
Duration: c. 11:40
Difficulty: V (see Ratings for explanation)
Original Medium: Orchestra
Publisher: Alfred Music
Cost: Score and Parts (print) - $200.00   |   Score Only (print) - $50.00


1. Dance with Pennons - 3:25
2. Mourning Dance - 4:45
3. Dance with Swords - 4:05


Full Score
C Piccolo
Flute I-II
Oboe I-II
English Horn
Bassoon I-II
E-flat Soprano Clarinet
B-flat Soprano Clarinet I-II
E-flat Alto Clarinet
B-flat Bass Clarinet
E-flat Alto Saxophone
B-flat Tenor Saxophone
E-flat Baritone Saxophone
B-flat Cornet I-II
Horn in F I-II-III-IV
Trombone I-II
String bass
Percussion I-II-III-IV-V, including:

  • Antique Cymbal
  • Bass Drum
  • Bells
  • Crash Cymbals (large)
  • Snare Drum
  • Suspended Cymbal (small)
  • Tam-tams (2; small and deep)
  • Temple Block
  • Tenor Drum
  • Tom-Tom (Chinese) (large)
  • Triangle
  • Tubular Bells
  • Vibraphone
  • Wood Block (Chinese) (small)
  • Xylophone

Soprano Voice


None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

Rogers describes these dances as "acts of fancy." The dances include: Dance with Pennons, Mourning Dance (for off-stage soprano solo), and Dance with Swords. They are dazzling in color yet rich, sonorous, and naive. Rogers' 1956 re-scoring of the dances for winds added a singularly unique composition to the repertoire.

- Program Note from publisher

As a composer, Rogers completed four symphonies, three operas, and a variety of major choral works and chamber pieces. Though he does have other band pieces to his credit, Rogers is best known for the rescoring of his Three Japanese Dances. This work was originally written for orchestra in 1933, having received its first performance by the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra under the baton of Howard Hanson (Eastman’s long- time director). When prominent wind conductor Frederick Fennell (also an Eastman colleague) suggested that Rogers adapt this work for band, he responded with considerable enthusiasm. Rogers completed a score for the modern wind ensemble that demonstrates sparkling colors and sheer boldness through its creative orchestration.

The composer provides these comments in the 1933 original score:

Three Japanese Dances arises from my response to the art of Japanese woodblock masters, particularly Hiroshige, Hokusai, and Sharaku. The subtle art of ‘omission,’ the elegance and aristocracy, the freedom and invention within a formal scheme, the reticence and high mastery of these artists command my admiration and have impelled me to imitate these qualities in music. The Japanese wood print is clearly two-dimensional art, objective, and hieratic. I have tried to suggest such qualities: the ‘flatness’ and clear, cool colorings, the aloof figures, and frozen attitudes. These matters have posed a challenge and have led me to experiments in tonal chemistry, shrill and changing timbres, mixtures which are to suggest the brilliant aerial perspectives of the East as I imagine it. There are no actual pictorial models. The three pieces are merely acts of fancy.

In the first, Dance with Pennons, the coloring is cool and gay, vernal and naïve. Young girls weave to and fro casting ribbons of silk. The second is a Dance of Mourning. The dancer is clad in white (the color of mourning). An elaborate group of percussion instruments combine in a complex bell sonority against a primitive motive sounded by flute and [alto] flute. A distant mezzo voice, unaccompanied, adds a central episode, and the first material returns. The final panel is a Dance with Swords, suggested by the violent, distorted actor portrayals of Sharaku. The music is fiercely rhythmic, propelled by thrusting rhythms, and highly colored by percussion. (Japanese actors and dancers ‘move’ very little; theirs is an art of attitude and gesture.)

- Program Note by Tiffany Engle for the Calvin University Wind Ensemble concert program 13 November 2020


State Ratings

None discovered thus far.


To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

  • Eastman Wind Orchestra (Rochester, N.Y.) (Mark Davis Scatterday, conductor; Sydney Cornett, mezzo-soprano) - 3 November 2021
  • Los Angeles Symphonic Winds (Calabasas, Calif.) (Stephen P. Piazza, conductor; Christina Kushnick, soprano) - 24 October 2021
  • Calvin University (Grand Rapids, Mich.) Wind Ensemble (Tiffany Engle, conductor; Kristin Hoekema, soprano) - 13 November 2020
  • Houghton (N.Y.) College Wind Ensemble (Timothy McGarvey, conductor; Victoria Pitre, soprano) – 21 February 2020
  • West Chester University (Penn.) Wind Ensemble (Andrew Yozviak, conductor; Emily Bullock, mezzo-soprano) – 31 March 2019
  • University of South Florida (Tampa) Wind Ensemble (Marc Sosnowchik, conductor) – 24 February 2019
  • Eastman School of Music (Rochester, N.Y.) Wind Orchestra (Mark Scatterday, conductor) – 12 October 2018
  • University of Nebraska (Lincoln) Wind Ensemble (Carolyn Barber, conductor) – 3 October 2018
  • Nevada Wind Ensemble (Reno) (Reed Chamberlin, conductor) – 23 March 2018 (CBDNA 2018 Western/Northwestern Conference, Rohnert Park, Calif.)
  • Vanderbilt Wind Symphony (Nashville, Tenn.) (Thomas Verrier, conductor) – 2 February 2018
  • Yale University (New Haven, Conn.) Concert Band (Thomas Duffy, conductor; Jack Lindberg, contralto) – 12 November 2017
  • South Salem (Ore.) Saxons Wind Ensemble (Mary Lou Boderman, conductor) - 15 May 2010
  • The Musashino Academia Musicae (Tokyo, Japan) Wind Ensemble (Kenneth Bloomquist, conductor) – 20 December 2006 (2006 Midwest Clinic)
  • Eastman Wind Ensemble (Rochester, N.Y.) (Donald Hunsberger, conductor; Nicole Cabell, soprano) – 21 December 2000 (2000 Midwest Clinic)

Works for Winds by This Composer


  • Girsberger, Russ. Percussion Assignments for Band & Wind Ensemble: Volume 2 L-Z. Galesville, MD: Meredith Music Publications, 2004, 256. Print.
  • Rogers, B. (1955). Three Japanese Dances : [for band] = [Japanese dances, orchestra ; arr.] : Three Japanese Dances : [for band] [score]. T. Presser: Bryn Mawr, Penn.
  • Rogers, B.; Topolewski, T.; Hunsberger, D. [2000?]. Three Japanese Dances [score]. WB Music: T. Presser: Miami, Fla..