A Brass Band Advent Calendar: 15. Flowerdale

Philip Sparke’s inspirational piece, great for soprano cornet solos

There are some places which have inspired me in my near 40 years on this planet. Had it not been for one school I attended, neither Dunham Massey nor central Manchester would have had a great impression on me. In 2013, a corner of the West Highlands had a similar effect on me: Gairloch. A part of the world which inspired today’s Advent Calendar window.

Just outside the said village is Flowerdale, a forest noted for its waterfall which feeds into the southern part of Strath Bay towards Shieldaig. The mouth is marked by The Old Inn (which is well worth a visit). Flowerdale, the brass band piece, is part of a wider body of work entitled Hymn of the Highlands. This was commissioned by David King and the Yorkshire Building Society band in 2002.

Flowerdale provides a real test for soprano cornet players. In today’s clip, Lionel Jaquet puts in a stunning performance for Fanfare D’Ursy band. The piece really does take you towards that part of Scotland.

For tomorrow’s window, another soloist is waiting to take their position. All will be revealed on the sixteenth.

S.V., 15 December 2018.

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