John Gordon Armstrong

Canadian Composer


Songs for Lyra

Songs for Lyra was commissioned by Lyra—Constance Newland (soprano), Fiona Wilkinson (flute), Ray Sealey (guitar)—with funds from the Ontario Arts Council. This is one of my most accessible pieces. I was obsessed with Mahler’s Kindertotenlieder when I wrote it and even paraphrased the opening of Nun seh’ Ich woll in my third song. Needless to say, my cycle is much lighter than Mahler’s! It has been performed many times by a number of different sopranos, including advanced students and the audience response has always been very positive.

Songs for Lyra was premiered on December 2, 1984, in London, Ontario by Lyra. The performance below is by the Continuum Consort — Elizabeth MacIsaac, soprano, Emily Nagelbach, flute and Douglas Hensley, guitar.

Composed in 1995 for soprano voice, flute, guitar
Three Songs
Duration: 10 minutes
Moderately Difficult/Very Accessible
Published: Canadian Music Centre (Toronto)

Movement 1: Night Song


Movement 2: Song of Darkness


Movement 3: Night Song