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The Big Swim

for flute, viola and piano

Year:  2009

Year:  2009

Films, Audio & Samples

Sample Score

Sample: First two pages of each movement

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The Big Swim recounts the story of Kahe te Rau-o-te-rangi, a Maori woman who lived in 19th century New Zealand. Kahe was renowned for her seven mile swim from Kapiti Island to the mainland, with a child, Makare, strapped to her back, to raise the alarm when her tribe was under attack. In four movements: 'Working life with Scotch Jock' depicts the busy times Kahe and her Scottish husband had on their trading trips around the region; 'Threat' illustrates incipient panic overtaking the populace when war parties are seen massing towards the south; 'The Big Swim' depicts Kahe's determined strokes to the mainland, while in the final movement 'Safety is Reached', Kahe drags herself and her child slowly up the beach, willing herself onwards to raise the alarm and protect her people.

This is an extended arrangement of the original work in the instrumentation of flute, clarinet in B flat and piano. This was commissioned by Judith Exley for students of Paraparaumu College, Kapiti, New Zealand, and supported by a Creative Communities Grant (Kapiti) from Creative New Zealand/Toi Aotearoa, and first performed by them at the NZCT Schools’ Chamber Music Contest in Wellington in 2007. The version for flute, viola and piano was first performed in a read-through by students at a Music Summer School in Buggeru (CI), Italy in August 2011.

Contents note

I. Working life with Scotch Jock
II. Threat
III. The Big Swim
IV. Safety is Reached