Patriquin, Donald (1938--) By Strachan, Jeremy
Donald Patriquin is a composer known chiefly for contributing to choral repertoire in Canada. Born in Sherbrooke, Quebec, he studied composition as a teenager with Jean Papineau-Couture, and later in Montreal with Istvan Anhalt, as well as in Toronto with John Weinzweig. Patriquin’s prolific catalogue of work includes expanded tonal settings of texts by Shakespeare (A Lover and His Lass, 1968), Henry David Thoreau (Reflections on Walden Pond for choir, violin, cello, and piano, 2000), and William Blake (Songs of Innocence for choirs, harp, and flute, 1984). His main compositional activities have focused on arranging folk songs from around the world, especially various regions of Canada. Representative of these are Six Songs of Early Canada (1980) and Six Noëls Anciens (1982), which are frequently performed. Patriquin’s many compositions for children’s choirs make use of non-lexical sounds in imitating the soundscape, drawing on the timbral, percussive, and expressive possibilities of voices. Of his non-vocal works, Hangman’s Reel for fiddle and string orchestra (1978), commissioned by the Grand Ballets Canadiens, remains one of the most significant, assembling jigs, reels, airs, and other vernacular dances into a thirty-minute suite. Issues of cultural awareness, humanitarianism, and global peace provide thematic foundations for Patriquin’s music around 1985.