John Gordon Armstrong

Canadian Composer



In the Spring of 1995, I was discussing with Ray Sealey the possibility of writing a song cycle for the trio Girigonza (of which he was a member) when he asked if I would be willing to write a short piece for the University of Ottawa Guitar Ensemble. As I had been interested in writing for guitar ensemble for a number of years, I eagerly agreed. I decided that the piece would be short, reasonably easy (at least the individual parts) and fun to play. The climax, which would occur almost at the end, would be the loudest, thickest sound that four guitars could produce and the rest of the piece would lead as clearly as possible to that point. I tried to make Fanfare a fast-moving, entertaining piece which would be fun to play and to hear. Judging from the audience response, I succeeded. Although basically in E major (sort of) and 4/4 throughout, there are rhythmic “anomalies” in the piece which make a conductor useful. By the date of the performance, however, the players (all university students) were able to play it without me! I think it will work best with just four players, but I would like to hear it some time with more than one on a part. However it’s done, it’s a flashy, audience-pleaser and well worth the rehearsal time!

I conducted the première on March 19, 1996, with guitarists Michael Hopkins, Jean LaFrenière, Gary Pereira and Luc Arsenault, in Freiman Hall at the University of Ottawa. The following is a recording of that performance.

Composed in 1995 for guitar ensemble
Duration: 7 minutes, 30 seconds
Advanced Student/Very Accessible
Published: Canadian Music Centre (Toronto)