John Gordon Armstrong

Canadian Composer


Of Glad Love

I was delighted when I was approached by Phil Candelaria to write a piece for the Canadian Guitar Quartet. I had always wanted to write a piece for them and looked forward to the project. Before I got started though, the quartet asked me to consider a variation – a piece for Mezzo Soprano and guitar quartet to be performed by the quartet and Julie Nesrallah. I eagerly agreed since song writing is my first passion. As I often have, I searched for text in the work of Susan McMaster, the Ottawa poet whose work I have used for False Spring, Uncommon Prayers and, more recently, Gold and Glory. The text I chose was one that Sue wrote in honour of her daughter Aven’s wedding in 2000.

My goal was to write a piece that was exuberant and joyful, like the text. It’s essentially in E major (with a few extra notes).

As it turned out, Julie Nesrallah was unable to do the premiere. CBC moved her to Toronto. One concert was planned at Hart House but then her schedule changed at the last minute. At that point Whitney O’Hearn stepped in brilliantly!

Of Glad Love was premiered Nov. 15, 2015 at the Saint-Alexandre College Studio in Gatineau by Whitney O’Hearn and the Canadian Guitar Quartet. 

Composed in 2013 for Mezzo Soprano and Guitar Quartet
Duration: 9 minutes
Advanced Student/Very Accessible
Published: Canadian Music Centre (Toronto)