Sunrise at Angel's Gate

From Wind Repertory Project
Philip Sparke

Philip Sparke

General Info

Year: 2001
Duration: c. 9:00
Difficulty: IV (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: Anglo Music, through De Haske
Cost: Score and Parts - £179.00   |   Score Only - £39.00


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

  • Chimes
  • Crash Cymbals
  • Orchestra Bells
  • Snare Drum
  • Suspended Cymbal (2)
  • Tam-Tam
  • Triangle
  • Vibraphone
  • Whip
  • Xylophone


None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

This piece depicts the refined beauty of the Grand Canyon at sunrise and sunset. These are the best times to view the canyon, with the sun low in the sky casting shadows that give depth and form to the vast panorama. Angel’s Gate is one of the many named rock formations in the canyon. The composer has tried to depict the sights and sounds of dawn, birdsong in the early morning sky and the gradual revelation of the canyon itself as sunlight reaches into its rocky depths.

Towards the end of the piece, to the sound of a tolling bell, we are however reminded of the dangers that the beauty of the Grand Canyon so cleverly hides.

- Program Note from publisher

Commissioned by the United States Army Field Band, Colonel Finley Hamilton, conductor.

- Program Note from score

The composer has written, "Sunrise and sunset are the best times to view the [Grand] Canyon, as a sun low in the sky casts shadows that give depth and form to the vast panorama. Angel's Gate is one the many named rock formations on the northern side of the canyon, and in this piece I have tried to depict the sights of dawn there, birdsongs in the early morning sky and the gradual revelation of the canyon as sunlight reaches into its rocky depths. "

Following the ethereal opening chord, solos in the oboe, English horn and bassoon embody the birdsong described by Sparke. Throughout the work as a whole, woodwinds remain prevalent in providing melodic structure, particularly the oboe and the clarinet and, later, the saxophones. The brass family serves a supporting role much of the time, whether in the style of a chorale or in creating a fuller, more polyphonic texture.

The gentle nature of the opening passages gives way to a sudden vivo in which the mood dramatically changes; Sparke has likened this section to "the area waking up with tourists." The upper winds exchange interlocking eighth-note/sixteenth-note patterns, leading to a call and response between solo woodwinds and muted trumpets. Muted brass instruments remain prominent throughout the remainder of the section and into the reprise of the earlier themes of the piece. Trills in the horn section provide impetus to the molto lento, reviving the rhythmic gestures of the first section's saxophone duet. As the work trails to a close, twelve tolls on the bells "remind us of our mortality" and inspire a prayerful conclusion.

- Program Notes by the U.S. Army Field Band


State Ratings

  • Louisiana: IV
  • Oklahoma: V-A


To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

  • University of Illinois (Champaign) Wind Orchestra (Barry L. Houser, conductor) - 15 November 2023
  • University of Manitoba (Winnipeg, Mb., Can.) Concert Band (Michelle Styles, conductor) - 31 March 2023
  • University of Washington (Seattle) Symphonic Band (Shaun Day, conductor) - 9 March 2023
  • University of Kentucky (Lexington) Symphony Band (Shayna Stahl, conductor) - 18 September 2022
  • Andrews University (Berrien Springs, Mich.) Wind Symphony (Byron Graves, conductor) - 23 April 2022
  • United States Army Field Band II (Fort Meade, Md.) (Domingos Robinson, conductor) - 15 December 2021 (2021 Midwest Clinic)
  • Interlochen Center for the Arts (Michigan) Adult Band Camp (Thomas Riccobono, conductor) - 15 August 2021
  • Appalachian State University (Boone, N.C.) Wind Ensemble (Joseph D. Conti, conductor) – 14 February 2019
  • United States Army Field Band (Ft. Meade, Md.) (Jim R. Keene, conductor) – 12 November 2019 (High Point, N.C.)
  • University of Alabama (Tuscaloosa) Wind Ensemble (Kenneth Ozzello, conductor) – 26 September 2019
  • University of North Carolina, Greensboro, Wind Ensemble (John R. Locke, conductor) – 18 November 2018
  • Houghton College (Caneadea, N.Y.) Wind Ensemble (Tim McGarvey, conductor) – 2 November 2018
  • San Jose (Calif.) Wind Symphony (Edward C. Harris, conductor) – 10 December 2017
  • University of Arizona (Tucson) Wind Symphony (Chad Shoopman, conductor) – 30 November 2017
  • St. Mary's University (San Antonio, Tx.) Wind Ensemble (Matthew Mereles, conductor) - 22 October 2017
  • Prairie Wind Ensemble (East Peoria, Ill.) (Jim Tallman, conductor)– 22 October 2017
  • Ball State University (Muncie, Ind.) Symphony Band (Caroline Hand, conductor) – 24 March 2017
  • St. Louis (Mo.) Wind Symphony (Thomas Poshak, conductor) – 13 November 2016
  • Temple University (Philadelphia, Penn.) Wind Symphony (Emily Threinen, conductor) – 22 April 2016

Works for Winds by This Composer