Manfred Kelkel

Manfred Kelkel (15 January 1929 in Siersburg in Saarland, then under French occupation[1] – 18 April 1999 in Paris) was a 20th-century French musicologist and composer of contemporary music.

A pupil of Darius Milhaud at the Conservatoire de Paris, he got interested in the music of Russian composer Alexander Scriabin, whose latest works (from Prometheus: The Poem of Fire to Mysterium) influenced his own compositions. His work on Scriabin and a certain esoteric aesthetic of music are authoritative.



  • Symphonie n°1 Per aspera ad astra op.34, commission by Radio France (1983), premiered 19 October 1995
  • Symphonie n°2 Architectura Cælestis op.40 (1986/87)


  • Concertino for cello and chamber orchestra op.4 (1955)
  • Rhapsodie for saxophone and orchestra op.12 (1962)
  • Concerto for bassoon op.13 (1963)
  • Concerto de Zagreb for guitar and orchestra op.19 (1969)

Pieces for orchestra

  • Musique funèbre for oboe and orchestra op.5 (1954/61)
  • Hommage à Mozart, for string orchestra op.7 (1956)
  • Ostinato et Mazel Tov, opening on a theme by Darius Milhaud op.11 (1960)
  • Suite de danses hongroises for orchestra op.18 (1967)
  • Ouverture sur un thème de Darius Milhaud (after op.11) op.21 (1971)
  • Tombeau de Scriabine from the sketches of the Acte préalable by Alexander Scriabin, op.22 (1972/1973) with the permission of the composer's heirs[13]
  • Tabula Smaragdina, acoustic mandalas for piano, percussion, chorus and small orchestra op.24 (1975-1978)
  • Ming Tang, symphonic poem for chamber orchestra op.39 (1990)

Chamber music and for ensemble

  • Toccata for piano op.2/1 (1952) / for oboe and piano op.2/2 (1969)
  • Divertimento for oboe, clarinet and bassoon op.3 (1952)
  • Quatuor à cordes n° 1 op.6 n°1 (1955)
  • Quatuor à cordes n° 2 op.6 n°2 (1956)
  • Sonatine for oboe (or recorder) and piano op.9 (1959)
  • Suite for oboe (or recorder), celesta and gong op.10 (1959)
  • Laterna magica for clarinet, bassoon, trumpet, violin, piano and percussion op.16 (1964)
  • Miniatures pour le petit Alexandre, 7 children's songs for piano without opus number (1964)
  • Danses aux miroirs, for harp, piano, celesta and string quartet op.20 (1969/1970)
  • Deux pièces for solo harp (Melancolia and Mirabilis) op.23 (1970)
  • Castalia pour flûte et bande sonore op.25 (1979)
  • Talisman, sound mandala for 3 trombones and analogue echo op.28 (1981)
  • Crachat de lune for celesta (or piano) and percussions op.29 (1981)
  • Saturnalia for 3 violas and magnetic tape op.30 (1982)
  • Tan Matra, sound mandala for 5 ondes Martenot or wind quintet op.31 (1981/1982)
  • Athanor, for variable ensemble op.32 (1983)
  • Irigangi for horn and analog echo op.35 (1984)
  • Malinconia for solo guitar op.26 (1985)
  • Rongorongo for Alphorn and basset horn op.36 (1985)
  • Quatuor à cordes n° 3 op.38 (1992)
  • Enigma, geometrical figures for organ op.41 (1997)

Vocal music

  • Mélodies d'automne, for singing and piano, op. 1 (1950).
  • Chanson à boire, for men's choir, op. 15 (1961).
  • Les Voix de l'au-delà, mystery play after Victor Hugo for narrator, soloists, choir, tape and orchestra, op. 27 (1980/1981).

Incidental music

  • Le Cœur froid, ballet with choir op.8 (1956/1958)
  • La Mandragore, one-act psychodram op.17 (1965/1966)
  • V.I.T.R.I.O.L.[note 1][14] audiovisual show after Chymical Wedding by Johann Valentin Andreae, for narrator, magnetic tape and small ensemble, op.33 (1983)
  • Aux armes, citoyens, popular action for narrator, 2 mixed choirs and magnetic tape, op.37 (1989)
  • Lady L, radio program after Romain Gary, op.42 (1997)


Books by Manfred Kelkel

General works

  • À la découverte de la musique polynésienne traditionnelle (in French). Paris: P.O.F. 1981. p. 143. ISBN 2-716-90155-4.
  • Naturalisme, vérisme et réalisme dans l'opéra (in French). Paris: Éditions Vrin. 1984. p. 532. ISBN 978-2-7116-4253-3.
  • Alexandre Scriabine (in French). Paris: Fayard. 1988. p. 418.
  • Musique des mondes : essai sur la métamusique (in French). Paris: Vrin. 1988. p. 240. ISBN 978-2-7116-4263-2.
  • La musique de ballet en France de la Belle époque aux Années folles (in French). Paris: Vrin. 1992. p. 330. ISBN 978-2-7116-4273-1.


  • Manfred Kelkel (1985). Le mythe de la fatalité dans Le pauvre matelot de Jean Cocteau et Darius Milhaud (in French). Paris: Vrin. p. 198. ISBN 2-711-64257-7.
  • Manfred Kelkel (1989). Albert Roussel; musique et esthétique (in French). Paris: Vrin. p. 352. ISBN 2-7116-4267-4.
  • Manfred Kelkel (1999). Alexandre Scriabine; un musicien à la recherche de l'absolu (in French). Paris: Fayard. p. 412. ISBN 2-213-60365-0. Manfred Kelkel1999.

Works about Manfred Kelkel

  • Jean-Jacques Velly (2001). Le dessous des notes : voies vers l'ésosthétique. Hommage au professeur Manfred Kelkel (in French). Paris: Presses Paris Sorbonne. p. 442. ISBN 2-84050-209-7. ISSN 1275-2622.
    Jean-Jacques Velly. Préface (in French). pp. 5-15. Jean-Jacques Velly, Preface2001.
    Jacques Viret. "L'alchimiste des sons : Manfred Kelkel compositeur" (in French). pp. 251-263. Jacques Viret 2001.
    Jean-Jacques Velly. De la tradition classique aux spéculations ésotériques (in French). pp. 286-295. Jean-Jacques Velly,2001.
    Philippe Reynal. In memoriam Manfred Kelkel (in French). pp. 391-393. Philippe Reynal2001.


  • Philippe G. Kerbellec (1988). Comment lire Raymond Roussel: cryptanalyse (in French). Paris: Éditions Pauvert. p. 264. ISBN 978-2-876-97035-9. Philippe Kerbellec1988.

Notes and references


  1. It should be recalled that the acrostic V. I. T. R. I. O. L. decrypts Visita Interiora Terrae Rectificando Invenies Occultum Lapidem and is translated as "Visit the interior of the earth and, by rectifying, you will find the hidden stone.


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