Jablonski, Marek (Michael)

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Jankélévitch, Vladimir

(b Bourges, 31 Aug 1903; d Paris, 6 June 1985). French philosopher and musicologist of Russian origin. He studied in Paris at the School of Oriental Languages (diploma in Russian, 1925) and at the Ecole Normale Supérieure, where he took a degree in philosophy (1925) and the doctorat ès lettres in 1933. After holding posts as professor of philosophy at the Institut de Prague (1927–33) and the universities of Lille (1933–9, 1945–52) and Toulouse (1939–45), he was professor of ethics and moral philosophy at the Sorbonne (1952–78). In his works on music he wrote more as a philosopher than a musicologist. He did not discuss historical or technical problems but aimed to rediscover the basic idea of a musical work, to recreate the composer’s vision; this approach has particular value for musicians interested in interpretation. He concentrated on composers of the 19th century and early 20th (Chopin, Liszt, Fauré, Debussy, Ravel, Albéniz, Falla, Bartók, Satie), treating them from a poetic point of view. Ignoring material considerations, he focussed in his philosophical work on the conflict between the eternal and the immediate. The Festschrift Ecrit pour Vladimir Jankélévitch (Paris, 1978) was published in his honour on the occasion of his 75th birthday.

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