London-born Sparke became interested in band music when he played trumpet in the wind orchestra at the Royal College of Music. He has received numerous commissions from organizations ranging from the US Air Force Band to the BBC and has won many prestigious prizes in the US and abroad.
Commissioned by the South Norfolk Youth Symphonic Band and premiered by them in 2001, Four Norfolk Dances was written as something of a birthday tribute to famed British composer Sir Malcolm Arnold, who lives in Norfolk County, England. Sparke wrote the dances in the style of Arnold, with each one named after a village in South Norfolk that has a particular association with the band. "Pulham Prelude" is a robust dance, combining strong fanfares with a burlesque dance. "Diss Dance" is a charming waltz, balancing solo passages with the full band. "Lopham Lament" features a mournful oboe solo contrasting with a passionate climax. And the "Garboldisham Jig" weaves a lively jig with a graceful chorale. --James Huff 00:08, March 26, 2007 (EDT) (from the program notes of The Claremont Winds, submitted with permission)