Commedia della musica

Program note

Commedia dell’arte is a theatrical genre that appeared in the 16th century and was a kind of satire of the social values of the time. Through stock characters like Pantalone, il Dottore, Harlequin, Columbina, or Pulcinella, a range of social architypes (aristocrats, servants, etc.) are staged by means of a plot built around betrayal, desire, conspiracy, and other ups and downs of our overly human humanity... Each story is thus a framework with which the actors improvise the performance. Scenes that move the story forward are interwoven with lazzi, which are stock comedic routines of a rather physical nature. From all this, laughter, voracity, bawdiness, and mockery set the tone, and above all this caustic mayhem soar the innamorati (the lovers). They speak to each other in the language of love, displaying a sensitivity and refinement that is otherworldly (perhaps this confers on them an aspect of the eternal, in perfect contrast with the other characters).

In Commedia della musica, I asked myself which musical archetypes would allow me to paint a portrait of our world today. I got caught up in summoning musical personalities who I felt were able, by means of allusions, citations, or borrowing techniques, to translate an aspect of our reality: who could speak to infobesity, cyberattacks, multiplicity, the sacred, globalized mobility, climate upheaval, terrorism, and of course... love... Without providing all the keys to the associations I made (quite freely and with humour!), here are the titles of each section (or “scene”) of the piece:  Carcerati d’invenzione; Lazzo del minimalista; Colonna infinita; Libro dei mutamenti (I Ching); Mystico- elastico; Vertigo temporis; Lazzo (mashup) del terrorista; Cataclisma naturale; Lonely Pierrot...

A final warning: any resemblance to known (musical) persons is not unintentional.

The composition of this piece has been made possible through the generous support of Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec (CALQ). 

Jimmie LeBlanc

Scena prima : Carcerati d’invenzione
Lazzo del minimalista
Scena seconda : Colonna infinita
Scena terza : Libro dei mutamenti (I Ching)
Scena quarta : Mystico-elastico
Scena quinta : Vertigo temporis
Lazzo (mashup) del terrorista (ou Lazzo della danza sotto la pioggia)
Scena sesta : Cataclisma naturale
Scena settima : Lonely Pierrot


Year of composition
Commissioned by Paramirabo
C flute /
B-flat clarinet /
Violin /
Cello /
Piano /
Vibraphone /
Cymbals /
Maracas /

Last performances