White Light - Oboe Solo

White Light was commissioned by Fumiko Teramoto, oboist with the Musashino Grand Concert Band from Tokyo, Japan.

The request was for a moderately slow piece, of intermediate difficulty, which included White in the title, as this is her lucky colour. Composer Philip Sparke decided to use this suggestion to write a piece that was both bright and light in terms of harmony, colour and orchestration, with much use of simple major and minor chords and an emphasis on the pure, transparent timbres of the upper woodwinds of the band. He was also keen to capture the essence and history of the oboe as a solo instrument the piece is pastoral in character and often almost baroque in style.

It opens with a chorale-like passage on flutes and clarinets and the soloist enters with a recitative over trilling clarinets. The main theme is then introduced, accompanied by the woodwinds. After a short bridge passage, a change of key heralds a second theme by the soloist, with gentle brass punctuations. This builds to a climax, ending on a high trill from the soloist. After short passage over a timpani roll, the band recalls the main theme, taken up once again by the soloist. This leads to a short cadenza before the closing bars bring the work peacefully to a close.