John Gordon Armstrong

Canadian Composer


Circle’s End

Circle’s End for guitar and chamber orchestra was commissioned by the Guitar Society of Toronto and the CBC, with additional funds from the Ontario Arts Council for use as the final test piece in the 1986 Guitar Canada Competition. It was my intent to produce a piece that was technically and musically challenging for the guitarists, attractive for the listener but easy to put together with an orchestra; in fact, the orchestra had only thirty minutes of practice before rehearsing with each of the five finalists. It is a lush, impressionistic piece, very triadic and very lyrical, which could be performed by an advanced student—a fourth-year performance major for example—with good string and wind quintets. Circle’s End was premiered by the five finalists on April 28, 1986. The performance by competition winner Richard Bradley was recorded and broadcast nationally on CBC.

The recording below is from that performance.

Composed in 1986 for guitar and strings
Duration: 10 minutes
Advanced Student/Accessible
Published: Canadian Music Centre (Toronto)