Jolivet’s search for a new French voice: spiritual 'otherness' in Mana (1935).

Mawer, Deborah (2008) Jolivet’s search for a new French voice: spiritual 'otherness' in Mana (1935). In: French Music, Culture and National Identity, 1870-1939 :. University of Rochester Press, Rochester NY, pp. 172-193. ISBN 978-1580462723

Full text not available from this repository.


The early compositional identity of the significant, yet canonically ignored, André Jolivet (1905-74) may be represented by Mana, a Polynesian concept meaning ‘life force’. Jolivet’s emergent practice is viewed within a continuum of non-Western inspired output from Debussy to Messiaen, also connecting with the primitivism of Stravinsky and Varèse. But while sharing a quest for spirituality and expressivity, Jolivet arguably moved ahead of Messiaen in reaping compositional benefits. His originality lay in his engagement with French philosophy (through d’Olivet, Fourier, Bergson, and Chardin) and in the anthropological seriousness with which he pursued his non-Western inquiries. Discussion of Jolivet’s personal library and writings precede analyses of movements from Mana, especially ‘La Princesse de Bali’, which are in turn related to aspects of Polynesian and Balinese culture. In conclusion: Jolivet was a crucial member of La Jeune France who influenced Messiaen; his new French identity was forged partly through the ‘foreign’ and the ‘old’; and his non-Western vision was universal, as a social ideal, and yet precise, revealing parallels and instinctive insights into the cultural milieu of Polynesia and Bali. Perhaps in this unsustainably materialistic twenty-first century, a stark reassessment of values may enable Jolivet’s ‘anti-materialist’ voice to be better heard.

Item Type:
Contribution in Book/Report/Proceedings
Uncontrolled Keywords:
?? jolivet, mana, jeune france, french identity, polynesia, spiritualitymusicm music ??
ID Code:
Deposited By:
Deposited On:
22 May 2012 10:50
Last Modified:
16 Jul 2024 02:42