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Giovanni Domenico Ferretti (1692-1768),
Harlequin and Columbine

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Commedia dell'Arte was composed in 1986 for a singular group from Madrid, the Trío Arlequín, whose members (Salvador Espasa, flute; Pablo Riviere, viola; and Nicolás Daza, guitar), promoted during their many years of existence as a group a good number of scores by different Spanish composers, and who premiered the piece, on May 11 of the same year, at the Madrid Fine Arts Circle. The work, dedicated to said Trio and on whose inspiring character it is based, is a pantomime sketch that follows a plot line typical of the "commedia dell'arte", in which Harlequin, madly in love with Diamantine, cannot bear that she ignores him in favor of Flavio. The music is articulated in two movements (Acts I and II, respectively), trying to recreate the different and very changing dramatic situations contained in a hypothetical manuscript that is missing the last page, which leaves the music abruptly interrupted before its true ending. This serves as support for a musical development characterized by the continuous contrasts of tempo and character, a reflection of the different scenes and situations, which follow the following plan:
Act I.- 1) Garden in front of Diamantine's house. It is night. 2) Harlequin, pensive, wanders through the garden. 3) In the silence of the night, his heart evokes Diamantine. 4) His deep shyness prevents him from confessing his love for her. 5) Diamantine and Flavio enter. Listening to the lovers, Harlequin goes mad with jealousy (Folia). 6) His fit of jealousy makes her lose his shyness. 7) Giving a prodigious jump, he goes up to the balcony of Diamantine's house.
Act II.- 1) Inside Diamantine's house, shortly after. 2) Harlequin is hidden behind a curtain. 3) Diamantine enters her room. 4) To the great shock of Diamantine, Harlequin leaves his hiding place. 5) With harsh words, he rebukes Diamantine for her frivolity. 6) Diamantina flies into a rage. 7) Harlequin, appeased by Diamantine's reaction, decides to confess his love for her. 8) Diamantine announces her upcoming wedding to Flavio. 9) Harlequin, desperate, decides to kill himself. 10) With alacrity, Diamantine hands him a rope, insinuating that he hangs himself with it. 11) Harlequin, perplexed and pensive, places the rope around his neck... but gives up his attempt. It seems to him too common a death. 12) Diamantine, then, holds out a dagger. 13) Harlequin rests the weapon on his chest... but his lack of courage makes him give up his attempt. 14) At this point, the manuscript breaks off.
In 1990 I made a version of Commedia dell'Arte for flute, viola, and harp, which was premiered in October 1995 at Guanajuato's Cervantine Festival (Mexico) by the Luminar Trio. On the other hand, the abundant contrasts of the piece made it especially suitable for an orchestral version, presenting the opportunity to approach it when the Malaga Philharmonic Orchestra asked me for a work for its exemplary Cycle of Contemporary Music of the year 2009, summary of the previous ones. This orchestral version was performed in the winter of 2008 and is dedicated to the Malaga Philharmonic Orchestra, which was responsible for the premiere at the Cánovas Theater in Malaga, within the 15th Cycle of Contemporary Music, under the direction of José Luis Temes, on January 30, 2009.

Program of the premiere of the orchestral version of Commedia dell'Arte
(Málaga, january 30, 2009)

Review of the concert in the magazine Scherzo (March, 2009)

Coinciding with this cycle, a CD was published that included all the works commissioned for that occasion.

Cover of the CD of Málaga Philharmonic Orchestra

First page of Commedia dell'Arte (original version for trio with guitar)

First page of Commedia dell'Arte (original version for trio with harp)

First page of Commedia dell'Arte (orchestral version)


A) Original version (flute, viola and guitar)

Recording: Nova Cámara Ensemble

I. Act I

II. Act II

Youtube link: Matthew Krejci (flute), Paul Ehrlich (viola) y David Chapman (guitar)

B) Orchestral version

Recording: Málaga Philharmonic Orchestra (Cond.: José Luis Temes)

I. Act I

II. Act II


Original version (flute, viola and guitar) with reciter

Matthew Krejci (flute), Paul Ehrlich (viola) y David Chapman (guitar) y Mark Dávila (reciter).
Modesto (California, EEUU), Modesto Junior College, October 2017. Guitarraganza Festival 2017.

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(Scores and parts without watermarks available at www.asesores-musicales.com )

Score of Commedia dell'arte (version for flute, viola and guitar)

Score of Commedia dell'arte (version for flute, viola and harp)

Score of Commedia dell'arte (version for orchestra)