Dwelling in the secret: Andre Jolivet's "Asceses" in the context of his life and philosophy
Cheramy, Michelle A.
Brandt, Anthony K.
Doctor of Musical Arts
This document presents a case for viewing Asceses (1967) for solo flute/clarinet as a paradigmatic work in the compositional output of Andre Jolivet, reflective of his aesthetic and philosophical ideals as they had developed by the 1960s. As such, the work serves as a touchstone for a deeper understanding of the aesthetic and philosophical stance from which Jolivet was working during the last decade of his life. Many aspects of Asceses suggest this interpretation of the work. The piece bears many striking similarities to one of Jolivet's self-identified paradigmatic works of the 1930s, the Cinq Incantations for solo flute. In addition, the unaccompanied monophonic medium is one in which Jolivet did not work for thirty years, making his return to it in the 1960s particularly striking. The document positions Asceses within the biographical context of the final fifteen years of Jolivet's life and suggests that Jolivet's activities of this time in his life and career support a reading of Asceses as a defining composition. The document also thoroughly explores the state of Jolivet's aesthetics and philosophy by the 1960s, presenting a unified model of Jolivet's philosophy from which Asceses can be seen to have sprung, and suggesting ways in which Asceses reveals the strength of certain later influences on Jolivet's thought. The extra-musical materials of the work are considered for the ways in which they confirm and expand the understanding of Jolivet's worldview as presented. The document concludes with a detailed consideration of the ways in which Jolivet translates his late aesthetic ideals into compositional practice, and the ways in which Asceses reflects, at a deep structural level, the most important of them.