And Still, the Spirit - Spirit of the Sequoia

In 2003, composer Philip Sparke was commissioned by Dr. Robert Oertli, from Möhlin, Switzerland, to write a piece for Musikgesellschaft Möhlin. The brief from Dr. Oertli was for a piece that characterised man’s ability to overcome personal tragedy, a scenario which often leaves one with a philosophy of serenity.

Sparke decided to use the analogy of the sequoia, a generic name for the huge redwood trees, particularly the Californian redwood. The remarkable life cycle of these amazing trees involves them dropping seeds to the ground which require heat to open their shells and germinate. The redwood forests are frequently subject to fires which can destroy the mother tree but ironically also provide the impetus for their seeds to spring into life; the trees actually need a disaster to procreate. In a similar way, the human spirit can actually gain from setbacks: we become stronger after adversity. The piece was called Spirit of the Sequoia.

Dr. Oertli died in April 2013 and one of his last wishes was to have an easier version of the piece so that it would be more accessible to younger bands. AND STILL, THE SPIRIT is the new version, rearranged and simplified by the composer, while keeping the drama and intensity of the original. The new version was premiered at a special project concert on 13th November 2015.