I have always been fascinated by radio sports commentary and the differences between them and their TV counterparts – how the radio commentator is required to provide visual clues for the listener. I’ve also always been struck by the apparent musicality of sports commentaries, particularly horse racing and track athletics with the gradual rise in pitch and intensity and the subsequent fall back to rest position, but also other sporting events with their frequent changes in intensity and the commentator’s reaction to them. I wanted to make a piece that would reflect these two aspects and, using recordings of commentaries from sporting events from 2007 (Grand National – horse racing, England v India – cricket, US Open – tennis, France v Argentina – rugby), I was able to use the shape and frequency of events to create a structure for the piece. These sounds (unrecognisable from the original recordings) are interwoven with sounds made by a crowd in a Parisian bar in 2006 when France beat Brazil to get to the finals of the 2006 Football World Cup.
The title alludes to the urban myth which states that this phrase was used in early radio football commentary where a numbered grid representing the pitch was provided for listeners whilst a second commentator would call out the number on the grid where the ball was situated.
Back to Square One was commissioned by l’Institut International de Musique Electracoustique de Bourges, France and composed in Studio Circé at IMEB in April and September 2007.
Pete Stollery is a composer, teacher and performer based in Aberdeen, in the North East of Scotland. He composes almost exclusively in the electroacoustic medium, particularly music where there exists an interplay between the original ‘meaning’ of sounds and sounds existing purely as sound, divorced from their physical origins. In his music, this is achieved by the juxtaposition of real (familiar) and unreal (unfamiliar) sounds to create surreal landscapes. In recent years he has become interested in how we relate to our sonic environment and has created many works for non-performance contexts. His music is performed and broadcast throughout the world and is published by empreintes DIGITALes in Montréal. A solo DVD-A Un Son Peut en Cacher un Autre was released in 2006.
He is currently Head of the Music Department and Professor of Electroacoustic Music and Composition at the University of Aberdeen where he is able to guide school children, students and teachers in the creative use of technology in music education. He is also Artistic Director of discoveries – an occasional series of concerts in Aberdeen which aims to bring together electroacoustic works by school children and students to be performed alongside works by established composers from around the world.