Raveling, Unraveling – In Search of ‘La Valse’ was written for the Cory Band as their own-choice test piece for the 2016 European Brass Band Championships in Lille.
The piece found its genesis in Sparke’sThe Unknown Journey (2014) for concert band, and the use of Ravel’s La Valse as a structural undercurrent to the original piece is an act of reverence. Sparke’s aim was to produce a work that is organic rather than episodic in nature. The composer’s view is that little in music does this better than La Valse and for this reason he uses various sections of this masterpiece, both manipulated and quoted verbatim (including much of its stunningclosing passages) to provide the overall geography of his new work. As the music progresses, more of the Ravel appears, surfacing completely as the piece reaches its climax - a gesture of homage to the French master.