John Gourlay

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A Playford Suite
John Gourlay

Wind Ensemble


Scottish Music Centre

John Gourlay


Fresh from the St. Magnus Festival 2015, a dynamic quintet for flute/piccolo, bass clarinet, violin, viola and 'cello.

Scottish Music Centre

John Gourlay

Violin and Piano

Despite the title, a colourful duo for violin and piano.

Scottish Music Centre

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Listen to examples of my compositions

You can listen to examples of my compositions by clicking on the links below. Some are live recordings and others are produced by
Kanon Digital Orchestration

The links will take you to Soundcloud,Youtube or an mp3 player.

Concerto for Orchestra - John Gourlay

The Tale of the Red Etin - John Gourlay

Kirkcaldy Orchestral Society, Sandra Taylor (narrator) and The Langtoun Singers (director Ella Wilson)
conducted by Graeme Wilson Première performance at Kirkcaldy Old Kirk, Sunday 16 December 2018

Click here to listen to 'Red Etin'
O Columba

To listen to O Columba click here
O Columba - Inchcolm New Music Ensembe Conductor Steve King
Recorded at St Giles Cathedral Edinburgh 30 June 2018

No Hay Camino

To listen to No Hay Camino click here
This composition for medium-sized orchestra is a response to a short poem by Antonio Machado which includes the lines -

Caminante, no hay camino,
Se hace camino al andar.
Traveller, there is no road,
The way is made by going.

Seven Ages

To listen to Seven Ages click here
A new piece for classical guitar inspired by Jacques' speech in As You Like It, dedicated to the guitarist Stephen Morrison.
Premièred by Stephen Morrison at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe August 2016

Five Joan Eardley Pictures

To listen to Five Joan Eardley Pictures click here
A new eight-minute piece for clarinet, horn and cello.
Premièred by Kirkcaldy Orchestral Society players Stuart Smith, Andreas Morrison and Katie O'Neil in April 2016. The music is a response to five paintings by Joan Eardley (1921-63), all of which are in the collection of the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art in Edinburgh.

1. Street Kids (1949-51)
2. Seeded Grasses and Daisies (1960)
3. The Wave (1961)
4. Children and Chalked Wall No. 3 (1963)
5. Catterline in Winter (1963)

'Now fades the glimmering landscape'
Now fades the glimmering landscape - John Gourlay Edinburgh University Composers' Orchestra conducted by Sam McLellan Reid Concert Hall, Edinburgh University, 29 November 2018

This piece was first premièred by the Edinburgh University Composers' Orchestra in 2016. The inspiration is the second stanza of Gray's Elegy -

"Now fades the glimmering landscape on the sight,
And all the air a solemn stillness holds."

To listen to 'Now fades the glimmering landscape' click here


To listen to Solstice click here
Red Note Ensemble directed by John Harris
Marie Lloyd (clarinet), Nicolas Miribel (violin) & Robert Irvine (cello)
St Andres New Music Week, The Byre Theatre Bar, St Andrews, 28 February 2016'

The Weaving Midnight Moon

To listen to The Weaving Midnight Moon click here
Red Note Ensemble directed by John Harris
Ruth Morley (flute), John Kenny (trombone) & Jacqueline Shave (violin)
Summerhall, Edinburgh, 1 February 2016

The Weaving Midnight Moon - Orchestral Version

To listen to The Weaving Midnight Moon Orchestral version click here
London Contemporary Chamber Orchestra, Conducted by Alan Taylor.
Recorded by Matt Dilley

Orpheus Dreams

To listen to Orpheus Dreams click here
Red Note Ensemble directed by John Harris
Ruth Morley (alto flute), Robert Irvine (cello) & Tom Hunter (vibraphone)
Sound Festival at The Lemon Tree, Aberdeen, 23 October 2015

Stone Stories

To listen to Stone Stories click here
Premiered at the Edinburgh Fringe 2013 in St Andrew and St George's Edinburgh.
April Randall - Viola, Stephen Morrison - Guitar

A prelude and postlude begin and end the visits to these five stone places, each separated
by an interlude. On the shore at Crail a once growing, living tree is frozen for all time,
lapped by the tide, and near Gateside a hundred centuries of erosion by wind, frost and rain
have left a rock in the shape of a hat. At Balfarg in north Glenrothes is a place of bone
and fire, a place of cleansing and final rest and at East Wemyss all the ages have left their
marks in the darkness. With all that sky Inchcolm must be nearer heaven, but it is still a
hard journey to paradise.

A Symphony of Seasons

To listen to A Symphony of Seasons click here.
First complete performance 17 March 2013. Kirkcaldy Orchestral Society conducted by
Graeme Wilson. Adam Smith Theatre Kirkcaldy.

To listen to Chiaroscuro click here.
Written for colleagues Fiona Black (flute) and Angus Cuthbertson (piano) in 2009 this chamber
piece, recorded by Erik Knussen, explores the contrasts of light and shade.

To listen to Soliloquy click here.
This chart for solo trumpet and jazz orchestra was commissioned for inclusion on the 2007 CD issued to celebrate Fife Youth Jazz Orchestra's 30th Anniversary. The soloist is Kim Macari, who had previously been a pupil of John's at Dunfermline High School.

To listen to Labyrinth click here.
This extended piece was inspired by Edwin Muir's poem 'The Labyrinth' and is a journey from darkness to light for amplified double bass and orchestra. Composed for Calum Gourlay (bass) and Fife Youth Orchestra (conducted by Graeme Wilson) this piece includes improvisation for the soloist and aleatoric sections in the orchestral accompaniment. Labyrinth was given four performances in 2008 in Dunfermline, St. Andrews, Edinburgh and Glasgow.

Right On Spring
To listen to Right On Spring click here.
The title refers to a phrase inspired by Stravinsky's celebrated ballet score. Written for the National Youth Jazz Orchestra of Scotland, the piece was first performed by them in July 1997at the MacRobert, Stirling under the direction of Richard Michael.

A Playford Suite

Chamber Orchestra

This version of A Playford Suite by John Gourlay was recorded live at Viewfield Baptist Church Dunfermline 21 June 2011. Avison Plus are directed by Graeme Wilson
1 The Jolly Breeze and Fiddler's Maggot
2 The Sham Doctor
3 Buskin and the Country Farmer
4 Spanish Entree and Sarabande
5 Dumps and the French King's Mistake

To listen A Playford Suite - Orchestral version click here
For hiring/performance arrangements email John Gourlay

A Playford Suite

Wind Quintet

The Jolly Breeze and Fiddler's Maggot

The Sham Doctor

Buskin and the Country Farmer

The Spanish Entree and Sarabande

The Dumps and the French King's Mistake

Based on melodies from "The Dancing Master" originally edited by John Playford (1623-1686)
Available from Emerson Music KM096 or
email John Gourlay

A Playford Suite