Spirit of Endeavour

Spirit of Endeavour was commissioned by the Canadian concert band, Harmonie de Charlesbourg (François Dorion, founder and conductor) to celebrate their 20th anniversary in 2013. The first performance took place in the Raoul-Jobin Hall of the Palais Montcalm, Quebec, on November 30th that year, conducted by the composer.

The piece aims to celebrate story of the Harmonie de Charlesbourg following its formation in 1993. It is a many-faceted tale which embraces all aspects of the human experience:  hard work, friendship, musical excellence, love, marriage and birth, as well as the sad loss of cherished members. Composer Philip Sparke decided to salute this history with a work which falls into two contrasted sections: the first, One Vision, deals with François Dorion’s foresight in initially forming the band and the subsequent united desire to create an ensemble espousing the ideal of musical perfection. The second section, The Pursuit of Excellence, salutes the 20 years of hard work that have enabled the Harmonie de Charlesbourg to achieve its goals and establish its proud position in the musical life of Quebec.

One Vision opens with fluttering woodwinds, each making their own contribution to a climax which fluctuates between moods of triumph and yearning. This eventually leads to a hymn-like woodwind chorale, which is also treated to many changes of mood.

The Pursuit of Excellence is busy and bustling, celebrating hard work and industry. Eventually this leads back to a joyful reprise of the woodwind chorale by the full band, symbolising the fulfilment of a united dream.