Big Sky Overture

Composer Philip Sparke is fascinated by the early history of the American west, in particular the incredible expedition undertaken by Meriwether Lewis and William Clark, who were despatched by President Thomas Jefferson in the first decade of the nineteenth century to map the headwaters of the Missouri River and establish a route to the Pacific: a two-year journey that led them across the uncharted Great Plains and Rocky Mountains.

Much of their journey was spent in what is now the State of Montana (Spanish for ‘mountains’), whose spectacular landscape led Clark to vow that he would no longer write about the stunning scenery in his journal in case no one believed him.

Much of Montana is unchanged since Lewis and Clark’s epic journey: it is the fourth largest of the American states but has a population of less than a million.

One of the state’s nicknames is Big Sky Country and in this overture Philip Sparke aims to portray the beauty of the great outdoors, which is such a feature of this area of the northwestern United States.