Sunrise at Angel's Gate

Sunrise at Angelís Gate was commissioned by Colonel Finley Hamilton, conductor of the United States Army Field Band, and first performed by them in March 2001.

Philip Sparke provides the following composerís notes:-

ďIn October 1999, I was privileged to be invited to Flagstaff, Arizona, to take part in the centenary celebrations of Northern Arizona University. The University is two hours drive from the Grand Canyon, so a visit was compulsory!

Itís really not possible to describe this amazing natural phenomenon Ė itís just too big. You canít even photograph it effectively but it undoubtedly leaves a lasting impression on anyone who visits it.

Sunrise and sunset are the best times to view the Canyon, as a sun low in the sky casts shadows that give depth and form to the vast panorama. Angelís Gate is one of the many named rock formations on the northern side of the Canyon and in this piece, I have tried to depict the sights and sounds of dawn there, birdsong in the early morning sky and the gradual revelation of the Canyon itself as sunlight reaches into its rocky depths.

The faster central section depicts the arrival of the tourist buses, which run back and forth along the Southern Rim, and towards the end of the piece, to the sound of a tolling bell, we are reminded of the dangers that the beauty of the Grand Canyon so cleverly hides.