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With help of Roch Carrier, composer sets The Hockey Sweater to music

With help of Roch Carrier, composer sets The Hockey Sweater to music

May 14, 2012

"To perform her most recent piece of music, Ontario composer Abigail Richardson will rely on the strings, the brass and the organ, as well as a pile of ceramic tiles. The tiles, just the regular kitchen-bathroom variety, make a sharp noise when scraped against each other, rather like a skate blade cutting across ice, and that is exactly the sound Richardson needs.

Her most recent composition is music for The Hockey Sweater, the iconic Roch Carrier story about a boy in Sainte-Justine, Que., a diehard Montreal Canadiens fan whose tattered old jersey is replaced, to his horror, with a brand new one from the hated Toronto Maple Leafs. The work was commissioned for young audiences by the Toronto Symphony, the Calgary Philharmonic and the National Arts Centre Orchestra in Ottawa, and will make its official debut in a pair of concerts Saturday at Roy Thomson Hall.

“I really limited myself to the characters,” Richardson said, explaining how she uses the nagging strings to suggest the narrator’s proper mother when she insists he must wear the blue-and-white sweater rather than offend Mr. Eaton by sending it back to the store, and the big organ to suggest the stern lectures of the young vicar as he coaches the hockey team. But she also picked up some Quebec fiddling for her introduction, borrowed some brass from the Canadiens’ and the Leafs’ own theme music, and, of course, added the sound of those tiles. She travelled to Ste. Justine with the author last summer, saw the house he grew up in, played the local church bells and asked him what sound he remembered most from childhood...."


Related Composers: Abigail Richardson-Schulte