Jolivet Cinq Incantations for Solo Flute


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Jolivet Cinq Incantations for Solo Flute

Jolivet Cinq Incantations for Solo Flute

Publisher-Boosey and Hawkes
Cinq Incantations pour flûte seule
Solo Flute / Unaccompanied Flute
World Premiere 14/01/1937 / Sorbonne, Paris / Jan Merry Cohu, flute
Duration: 20 minutes (approximately)
Composed: 1936


A set of 5 expressive and mystical pieces for flute solo composed by Andre Jovilet in 1936.

A Quote from Andre Jolivet

In 1936 when I wrote Cinq Incantations for solo flute, I wanted to state the prime importance of the monodic element in music, i.e. melody meticulously organised from the point of view both of successive harmony (the sequence of intervals) and of rhythm, volume and pitch. The only purpose, however, of the carefully measured combinations of these different elements is to generate musical feeling and, in the most sensitive (or the “newest”) listeners, a feeling similar to the panic impulses of primitive man. It was better to achieve this result that I chose the flute which is the musical instrument par excellence because, endowed with life by the breath, man’s deepest emanation, the flute charges sounds with what is both visceral and cosmic in us.” Andre  Jolivet 

André Jolivet

Jolivet (1905-1974) was a French composer known for his sophisticated and expressive experiments with rhythm and new sonorities. He initially had a keen interest in drama, painting, and literature but shifted his focus to music. He studied under avant-garde composer Edgard Varèse and other notable figures.

In 1935, Jolivet co-founded La Spirale, a contemporary chamber music organization that later became La Jeune France, dedicated to promoting modern, nationalistic music. His experiences during World War II in the French Army sparked a fascination with primitive religion and magic, which influenced his musical style.

In 1945, Jolivet became the music director of the Comédie-Française and developed an expressive melodic style. Notable works from this period include the virtuosic Concertino for Trumpet, Strings, and Piano (1948) and the symmetrical Flute Concerto (1949). Jolivet ventured beyond neoclassicism, exploring experimental avenues such as incorporating the Ondes Martenot, an electronic instrument, in his Concerto (1948) and employing complex orchestrations inspired by Africa, East Asia, and Polynesia in his Concerto for Piano and Orchestra (1951).

André Jolivet was deeply devoted to French culture and musical thought. He drew inspiration from acoustics, atonality, and ancient and modern musical influences, particularly instruments used in ancient times. His compositions encompassed various forms and were written for diverse ensembles.

Jolivet’s aesthetic ideals evolved over time, aiming to restore music to its original, ancient meaning as a magical and religious expression of human beliefs. Mana (1933), one of his early mature works, marked the beginning of his “magic period” and reflected his belief in the mystical power of music.

In addition to his compositions, Jolivet made significant contributions to teaching and founded the Centre Français d’Humanisme Musical. He held a teaching position at the Paris Conservatoire.

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