Back to Square One

Pete Stollery

Back to Square One

  • Pete Stollery
  • Year of composition: 2007
  • Duration: 10:17
  • Instrumentation: fixed medium
  • Publisher(s): Ymx média
  • Commission: IMEB
  • ISWC: T9027914392

I have always been interested in radio sports commentaries and the differences between them and their television counterparts, particularly 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 what’s going on. 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 vs India — cricket, US Open — tennis, France vs 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 FIFA World Cup.

The title is a nod to the urban myth that in early radio football commentaries, a numbered grid representing the pitch was provided for listeners with a second commentator calling out the number on the grid where the ball was situated.


Back to Square One was realized in April and September 2007 at the Studio Circé of IMEB in Bourges (France) and premiered on November 1, 2007 at the Mitchell Hall, University of Aberdeen (Scotland, UK) during the Sound Festival. The piece was commissioned by IMEB.


  • November 1, 2007, Sound Festival 2007: Concert, Mitchell Hall — University of Aberdeen, Aberdeen (Scotland, UK)