I have a recurring nightmare about Tryptych, after our back row gradually fell apart at the areas a few years ago!
I agree with most picks here. Year of the Dragon - of course, Royal Parks - yep, A Downland Suite - most definately it's fantastic! But a few more into the melting pot: Variations on a Ninth (all of the slower sections), Ballet for Band (great flugel solo so I'm biased), Land of the Long White Cloud (Ditto). Not a test piece but the slow section in Shine as the Light is pretty too.
And I just have to say this - the slow movement of Triptych is one of the most outstanding, beautiful pieces of writing I have ever heard. Simply astonishing. "Hairs on the back of the neck" experience.
I am very surprised no one has mentioned Music for a Festival. The middle movement in that piece is simply outstanding. This to me, is definiative Sparke, complex counterpoint in his writing!!!! Love his use of suspensions and the way his counterpoint is written in that middle movement, just so immense, a great example of how movement, pace and rhythm can be combined to great effect in slow-music writing.
The middle movement of Euphonium Music by Brian Bowen. I played it two years ago at Minot State University with a very good piano accompanist. Sadly, I don't think I will ever find a piano accompanist that could play it, let alone an oppourinity to play it for anything .
Beat me to it James regarding Music for a Festival,although I dont think I would have described it in your words :? I remember Dave(conductor) saying it was the most beautiful passage in Brass Band music,then proceded to drop it and play a different piece :cry: