a walk with horns

The St John’s Harbour Symphony (played on 1st July this year (2019)) is a striking sonic event. A composition for ship’s horns it takes place in, and resonates around, the natural amphitheatre of St John’s Harbour, Newfoundland. In a response to the live performance I walked a route in the immediate harbour area.

My walk was:

from a wooden bollard
at the water’s edge
cross Harbourside Park to Water

cross Water
up stone steps to Duckworth
south west to Holloway

north west to Prospect
north east to Kings
south east to Duckworth

north east to Cochrane
south east to Water
south west to Harbourside

cross Harbourside Park
to a wooden bollard
at the water’s edge

As well as the pair of microphones that travelled with me on my walk, a third microphone remained on the quayside (for which my grateful thanks to Jeremy Grimshaw). Heard from the quayside, the natural bowl of the harbour produces the obvious echo of the cannon shot that are giving percussive punctuation to the horns’ drones. Although initially synchronous, as I walk away from the quayside the ‘distance between the recordings’ increases, the architecture changes, and the sounds of the symphony become more complex – less apparent in the horns, the cannon shots eventually separate into complex quadruple sounds. A Walk with Horns “plays the symphony” making audible the shifting sounds of walked streets, people, traffic and the echoing buildings of downtown St John’s.