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Andre Jolivet

Andre Jolivet was born on 8 August 1905 in Paris (France). Both his parents had a passion for arts - his father for painting, his mother was a good amateur pianist. Andre Jolivet learned to play the piano from his mother and continued his first studies under Henriette Casadesus (the third wife of the composer Francis Casadesus). Later teachers included the abbe Aime Theophile Theodas, choirmaster at Notre-Dame de Clignancourt and cellist Louis Feuillard.

After school Andre Jolivet joined the teacher training in Auteuil and received a scholarship. This allowed him to begin his musical studies under Paul Le Flem (counterpoint, harmony, fugue). Andre Jolivet completed his teacher courses in 1925 and continued to serve his military duty. In 1927 he accepted his first teacher position. From that time date also the first musical compositions by Andre Jolivet. In 1929 he met Edgar Varese and became his student in composition and orchestration.


In the early 1930s the first of Andre Jolivet's compositions received their premieres and marked him as a modern, vanguard composer. To support and promote this kind of music Andre Jolivet co-founded the group "La Jeune France" with Olivier Messiaen, Jean-Yves Daniel-Lesur and Yves Baudrier in 1936. This group organised concerts and was the leading avant-garde musical group in France until the outbreak of war. In 1939 Andre Jolivet was drafted for military service and based at Fontainebleau. After taking part of the battles at the Pont de Gien, Andre Jolivet returned to Paris. With a grant from the "Association pour la diffusion de la pensee francaise" he could quit his work as a teacher and focus on his musical work.


In 1945 Andre Jolivet was appointed director of music at the Comedie-Francaise and was at that time already one of the leading composers in France. In 1959 he left the Comedie-Francaise and became technical advisor at the Ministry of Culture. In 1966 Andre Jolivet was finally appointed professor of composition at the Paris Conservatoire, a position he held until his retirement in 1971.

Andre Jolivet died on 20 December 1974 in Paris (France).


The work catalogue of Andre Jolivet consists of works for all genres. He composed 2 operas, 6 ballets, 3 symphonies and an unnumbered symphony for strings as well as other orchestral compositions. A special emphasis is placed on concertante works. Andre Jolivet composed a total of 12 concertos for all kinds of solo instruments. Most notable are the ones for ondes martenot, flute, bassoon, trumpet, piano, violin and the two cello concertos. The work catalogue also offers a large number of chamber works among them two piano sonatas and a string quartet. And finally Andre Jolivet also composed a number of songs, works for voice and orchestra, two masses, an oratorio and organ works.

In my possession are two autograph manuscripts by Andre Jolivet: The "Trois temps No.2" for piano and the "Six etudes" for piano.


Trois Temps No.2 for piano


The Trois Temps No.2 were composed in 1931 shortly after the Trois Temps No.1. While the first set was published by Senart in 1931 and premiered by Mireille Monard the same year, the second set remained unpublished and unperformed.

The Trois Temps No.2 consists of the three movements 1. Expressif, 2. Vif and 3. Balancé.

With the kind permission of the Jolivet family I am allowed to publish the score of the Trois Temps No.2 here:

PDF-Dokument [400.1 KB]

Six Etudes for piano


The Six Etudes were composed in 1931. Despite the title this set of small piano compositions is not for practice. In the autograph a note by Andre Jolivet precedes the composition explaining:


"Ces études ne sont pas des exercices scolastiques portant chacune sur telle ou telle difficulté technique à résoudre.
Les 6 pièces qui composent ce cahier méritent cependant ce titre générique car, en conservant un caractère strictement musical, elles peuvent servir, dans leur ensemble, a l'assimilation de certains procédé sonore, rythmiques, mélodiques sinon nouveaux du moins d'usage récent ou jusqu'à présent assez peu employés."


The work was revised several times by Andre Jolivet. But it seems that none of the versions satisfied the composer because the complete set remained unpublished. Only the 5th etude from the set was published individually as a supplement to the journal "Revue musicale" in February 1932.

The first version of the Six Etudes consisted of the parts 1. Concentré, 2. Vite, 3. Calme, 4. Assez vif, 5. Expressif and 6. Vif et ramassé. In my manuscript the 6th etude is crossed out and marked "Refaite en 34". In addition I own a working manuscript in pencil of this newly composed 6th etude. And part of my archive is also another untitled piano composition marked "Vif" with a note "Etude III (?)". This composition differs to the original 3rd etude, so maybe this is another newly composed one or a mislabeled different piano composition by Andre Jolivet.


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