ORIENT EXPRESS, originally composed for brass band, was written as the British entry for the 1986 EBU New Music for Band Competition, gaining first prize. The wind band transcription was commissioned by the Tokyo Kosei Wind Orchestra in 1992 for a recording they made of Philip Spark’s music, conducted by the composer.
The piece describes a journey on the famous luxury train which runs from London to Venice. Starting amoung the hubbub of London’s Victoria Station, the music subsides as the guard blows his whistle and the enormous engine starts rolling. At las the train is under way, hurtling across the European countryside. A slower central section gives the passenger time to think about home but the relentless journey continues, eventually slowing to a halt as the train reaches its destination.