Ballif, Claude (André François)

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Ballif, Claude (André François)

Ballif, Claude (André François), French composer and pedagogue; b. Paris, May 22, 1924. After training at the Bordeaux Cons. (1942–48), he took courses with Aubin, N. Gallon, and Messiaen at the Paris Cons. (1948–51). He then studied with Blacher and Rufer at the Berlin Hochschule für Musik (1953–55), and also attended Scherchen’s classes in Darmstadt. He was associated with the French Radio and Television in Paris (1959–63), and then was a prof. there at the École Normal de Musique (1963–65). After serving as a prof. at the Rheims Cons. (1964–71), he was prof. of analysis (1971–90) and assoc. prof. of composition (1982–90) at the Paris Cons. He subsequently was prof. of composition at the Sevran Cons, from 1990 to 2000. In 1984 he was made a Commandeur des Arts et des Lettres and in 1994 a Commandeur de l’Ordre National du Mérite. As a composer, Bailiff has followed an independent course, developing a system he describes as metatonality, notable for its avoidance of the extremes of diatonicism and chromaticism.


(all publ. in Paris): Introduction à la métatonalité (1956); Berlioz (1968); Voyage de mon oreille (1979); Économie musicaleSouhaits entre symboles (1988); L’Habitant du Labyrinthe (1992).


DRAMATIC: Opera: Dracoula (1982; rev. 1983; Paris, Sept. 19, 1984); II suffit d’un pue d’air (1990; Montreal, Dec. 11, 1991). ORCH.: Lovecraft (1955); Voyage de mon oreille (1957); Fantasio (1957; rev. 1976); A Cor et à cri (1962); Ceci et cela (1965); Cinquième Imaginaire for Chamber Orch. (1968; rev. 1978); Sixième Imaginaire for Chamber String Orch. (1974); Ivre, moi, immobile for Clarinet and Orch. (1976); Haut les Rêves for Violin and Small Orch. (1984); Le Jouet du jeu for Oboe and Chamber (1988). CHAMBER: 4 quintets (1952, 1954, 1958, 1960); 5 string quartets (1955, 1958, 1959, 1987, 1989); Violin Sonata (1957); Flute Sonata (1958); 19 works entitled Solfeggietto for Various Solo Instruments (1961–99); Le Taille–Lyre for 7 Instruments (1990); Saxophone Quartet (1995). keyboard: piano: 6 sonatas (1957, 1957, 1959, 1960, 1960, 1994). Organ: 4 sonatas (all 1956). VOCAL: Quatre Antiennes à la Sainte Vierge for 6 Soloists and Orch. (1952–53); La Vie du monde qui vient première symphonie mystique, requiem for 8 Soloists, 6 Choruses, and Orch. (1953–55; rev. 1972); Les Battements du coeur de Jésus for Double Chorus, Trumpet, and Trombone (1971); Un Coupe de dés for Chorus, 6 Instruments, and Tape (1980); Le Livre dur Serviteur for Baritone, 3 Choruses, and Orch. (1985–88); La Transfiguration de l’univers for 3 Choruses and Instruments (1993); Moments donnés for mandarins for Mezzo-soprano, Flute, Oboe, and Clarinet (1998).


M. Tosi, C.B. (Bezières, 1991).

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire