Tom Thomson Centennial Swim: Passing Through Water Score


This score was written to accompany the 3km swim of the length of Canoe Lake in Algonquin Park on July 8th 2017, the centenary of the death of Canadian Painter Tom Thomson.  The meter and time signatures are adapted from my stroke rate, and the relationship to my kick and strokes, which alternate from a 6/4 in the first half to a 4/4 in the second half. I wanted the score to be something that could have been created at anytime in the past 100 years. Erik Satie’s timeless work was an inspiration for this undertaking, particularly Vexations and the Gnossiennes (both c.1893). Distance swimming is a very repetitious, rhythmic, and meditative activity so this score attempts to create a work that is at once dirge-like, hypnotic, yet transformative.  One of the limitations of the piece was to compose a work over 45 minutes long that could fit on marching band lyres, miniature portable music stands that clip to instruments, so that musicians could perform from canoes, this was accomplished by writing a modular score in which repeated sections and elements are interleaved sonically.

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