John Gordon Armstrong

Canadian Composer

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Jouissance!

Notes from the composer

Jouissance! was written for Craig Sylvern and first performed on November 9, 1993 in Weigel Hall Auditorium at The Ohio State University. The formal structure of Jouissance! is conventional—three movements (fast-slow-fast) with some allusions to sonata principles. Each movement is, however, informed, in some way, by the idea of improvisation. The first movement, although traditionally notated, has a quick-moving principal idea (expressed in constantly changing metres) that is intended to “sound” free and improvised even though it is not. The second and third movements incorporate actual improvisation into the score; pitches are given with suggestions as to the style of performance, but the precise placement of those pitches is left to the performer.

The recording below is by Craig Sylvern from 2009.

Composed in 1992 for saxophone
Three Movements
Duration: 10 minutes
Very Difficult/Accessible

1. “Fanfare”


2. “Reflection”


3. “Frenzy”