Philip Sparke

Ozzie Cornet

New Member
Hi All,

Recently we had a thread about all time favorite test pieces (still sticky)however I was wondering about Philip Sparke in particular. Personally he is my favorite composer and i was wondering what you thought was, in your opinion, his best test piece - be it for best sound or the most exciting to play.

Between the Moon and Mexico is easily my favourite :) . Our band's playing London overture as well at the moment, thats a much better piece than I thought as well.


1 Harmony Music not just hard but beatiful writing in slow sections and fantastic virtuso writing in the outer sections.

2 Land of the long white cloud excellent effects here surrounds beautiful sustained melodies all the way thorugh

3 The Prizewinner not sure if this would be classed as a test piece as jst but I have played it that sort of vain at the national youth championships. Some very challenging moments for a school band to play a thoroughly enojyable

4 Malvern Suite Again the melodies are of the highest class. Always nice to listen to and nice to play as well.


Active Member
Mine would change all the time.......I would like to ask Philip which is his favourite and why?


Supporting Member
I agree with Moy to some extent - my favourite piece at any given time is often the one we're working on or have just done, and I don't think I ever met a Sparky test piece I didn't like! :lol: .

That said, my all time fave is Harmony Music: to play and to listen to. For me it has excitement, fun and incredible beauty - he'll have to go some to better it. (Tallis came close though imho)

FWIW, his top three in the recent poll were:
Variations on an Enigma (20), Harmony Music (9) and Year Of The Dragon (2).


Would be Tallis for me followed by Moon and Mexico - what a fantastic opening that piece has for baritones!


Staff member
I think for me it has to be Year of the Dragon. I did vote it my number one on the "Greatest test Piece" thread - the second and third movements are fab!

It's a difficult choice though. I love Harmony Music - this piece was the test for first time I went to the finals and it just blew me away!
Land of the Long White Cloud is also one of my favorites - the slow movement is terrific and I love playing the little Flugel solo! :D
I wasn't that familier with Tallis until recently, and I've never played it but I've got to know it now and it is certainly one of his best.

But I think we're in danger of overlooking his "concert" pieces. One which I think is particularly good is "Serenade for Toni". It's gorgeous! :lol:


Active Member
It would be difficult to pick a Phillip Sparke test piece as favourite... I really like a lot of them.....

Harmony music i think is beautiful ...tallis variations too...along with london overture and also kaledioscope which I really enjoyed as our test piece for this year....., maybe not technically really challenging but musically fantastic!!!!


Supporting Member
While I have not yet had the opportunity to play any of Mr. Sprake's pieces at a contest, my favorites to listen to as an observer are 1) Year of the Dragon & 2) The Enigma variations


Active Member
Year of the Dragon (for the second movement)

but my fav has to be Cambridge Variations, soooo atmospheric! I just love the opening.

Will the Sec

Active Member
Music for a Festival of those I've played at a contest, Year of the Dragon or The Land of the Long White Cloud of those I haven't.

100 not out....

Okiedokie of Oz

Active Member
Too many to choose from!!

Music for a Festival was my first ever Sparke piece. Or was it?? I'm drawing a blank over who wrote Celtic Suite. So I'll say Music for a Festical so I don't give Phil credit for someone else's song by mistake.


my favourite piece

I like his not so often played Concerto Grosso, it has a catchy tune and the music flows, as it does in all of his pieces. It is a shame that it isn't heard more often.

I think:-

Concerto Grosso
Hymn of the Highlands
Between the Moon
Year of the Dragon


My favourite Sparke pieces are

1. Variations on an Enigma
I just love how everyone in the band gets a turn and then everything comes together in a big and exciting finale.

2. Capriccio
Sop cornet solo, this piece got me hooked to the music of Philip Sparke.

3. The Snowman
He only arranged this one but I'm think that it is the most beautiful piece which is not out of reach of the lower section bands.

Harmony Music is also special to me.

ted said:
My favourite Sparke pieces are <snip>
2. Capriccio
Sop cornet solo, this piece got me hooked to the music of Philip Sparke.

Glad Capriccio got a mention, it was the first solo I ever enjoyed playing and likewise, got me hooked on both Philip Sparke and the Brass Band 'bug'


Active Member
I love tryptich especially the middle movement... simplicity is best.

Mind you I must say its hard to think of a Philip Sparke work that I dont like.... well done mate your music's ace :tup

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