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Year of the Dragon

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Philip Sparke

Philip Sparke

General Info

Year: 1984 / 1985
Duration: c. 13:50
Difficulty: V (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: Studio Music
Cost: Score and Parts - £80.00   |   Score Only - £10.00


1 Toccata - 3:30
2 Interlude - 6:45
3 Finale - 4:40


Full Score
Flute I-II
Oboe I-II
Cor Anglais
Bassoon I-II
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 Cornet I-II-III
B-flat Trumpet I-II
Horn in F I-II-III-IV
Trombone I-II-III
Percussion, including:

  • Bass Drum
  • Chimes (notated as "Bells")
  • Crash Cymbals
  • Glockenspiel I-II (extended high range required (high D-flat) for II)
  • Snare Drum
  • Suspended Cymbal
  • Tambourine
  • Tam-Tam
  • Triangle
  • Wood Block
  • Xylophone


None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

The highlight of Cory’s centenary celebrations throughout 1984 was a concert held in St. David’s Hall, Cardiff, in March. The band, with the aid of funds provided by the Welsh Arts Council, commissioned Philip Sparke to write a work for first performance at this concert. The result was The Year of the Dragon of which the composer writes:

“At the time I wrote The Year of the Dragon, Cory had won two successive National Finals and I set out to write a virtuoso piece to display the talents of this remarkable band to the full.”

The work is in three movements:

TOCCATA opens with an arresting side drum figure and snatches of themes from various sections of the band, which try to develop until a broad and powerful theme from the middle of the band asserts itself. A central dance-like section soon gives way to the return of this theme, which subsides until faint echoes of the opening material fade to a close.

INTERLUDE takes the form of a sad and languid solo for English horn, originally trombone. A chorale for the whole band introduces a brief spell of optimism, but the trombone solo returns to close the movement quietly.

FINALE is a real tour-de-force for the band with a stream of rapid semi-quavers running throughout the movement. The main theme is heroic and march-like but this is interspersed with lighter, more playful episodes. A distant fanfare to the sound of bells is introduced and this eventually returns to bring the work to a stirring close.

- Program Notes from California Polytechnic University, San Luis Obispo, Wind Ensemble concert program, 17 November 2012

Commercial Discography


Studio Music Company Web site

State Ratings

  • North Carolina: VI - May omit movement 2


To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

  • State University of New York, Fredonia, Wind Symphony (Donna Dolson, conductor) – 21 February 2019
  • College of Central Florida (Ocala) Wind Symphony (John D. Ash, conductor) – 16 November 2018
  • State University of New York, Potsdam, Concert Band (Michael Schaff, conductor) – 18 April 2017
  • Brooklyn (N.Y.) Wind Symphony (Jeff W. Ball, conductor) – 10 December 2016
  • Illinois State University (Normal) Wind Symphony (Joseph Manfredo, conductor) – 28 October 2016
  • Johns Hopkins University (Baltimore, Md.) Peabody Wind Ensemble (Harland D. Parker, conductor) – 6 April 2016
  • California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, Wind Ensemble (Andrew McMahan, conductor) - 17 November 2012
  • San Luis Obispo Wind Orchestra (William V. Johnson, conductor) - 27 October 2012

Works for Winds by This Composer