Sprites and Flares (2015), refers to the uncertain activities of sprites (upper atmospheric lightening) and solar flares (solar activity from the sun which cannot penetrate the earth's atmosphere) and uses these two ideas as a basis for the kind of musical material heard within the work - dramatic, swirling motifs, often of a virtuosic nature.
The work's dramatic opening ensures the first thirty seconds are high in energy and full of impact. Following this, the music dies down and presents an ethereal atmospheric section, perhaps reflecting the calm before the storm. Before long, the music takes a turn for dramatic, fast, virtuosic playing, all reflecting the theme of the work, and indeed remains in this style through to the close, gaining momentum and becoming ever- more triumphant as the work reaches its close. A huge ending is heard, full of excitement and drama, but more importantly grandeur and rich harmonic-chords.
The work was commissioned by and written for Leyland Band and its conductor, Thomas Wyss, as the finale to its 2015 Brass in Concert programme, premiered at The Sage, Gateshead, on 15th November 2015.