Robert Normandeau

  • Year of composition: 1993
  • Duration: 2:54
  • Instrumentation: stereo fixed medium
  • Publisher(s): Ymx média
  • ISWC: T0710292366


Spleen is comprised solely of the voices of four adolescents, aged 16 years. The title refers to one of the most significant moods of the adolescent: this kind of sudden melancholy which surfaces for no apparent reason. This work is a sequel to a previous piece, Éclats de voix, which utilized dozens of sounds from the Dictionnaire des bruits by Jean-Claude Trait and Yvon Dulude as a sonorous base. Onomatopoetic, the material is extremely rich because it represents those instances when the sounds of human language correspond directly to the designated object or to the expression of a sentiment.

The piece is divided into five sections which represent typical situations for the adolescent, and a corresponding sonorous parameter. These sections are presented successively in concert, or separately when broadcast on radio.

Spleen was realized in the composer’s studio from recordings of the voice of Marc Gilbert, Laurent-Josée Sainte-Marie, Nicolas Thériault and Patrick Virar. It premiered during the radio festival Journées Électro-Radio Days broadcast live in Montréal, Toronto and Vancouver on December 10, 1993. Spleen was realized with support from the Audio program of the Media Arts Section of the Canada Council [for the Arts] (CCA). The piece was awarded the Public’s Prize at the 3rd Prix international Noroit-Léonce Petitot (Arras, France, 1994).


  • December 10, 1993, Journées Électro-Radio Days, Montréal (Québec)