One of the most enigmatic figures in the history of Wind Music, Ali Ben Sou Alle (Charles-Valentin Soualle)
was born in 1820 in Arras, France. After receiving his first prize in Clarinet at the Paris Conservatory in 1844.
he served as the director of music of The French Marine Band in Senegal, and then was named first clarinet solo
at the Opéra-Comique in Paris. However, after the Revolution of 1848, Soualle was forced to flee France to England
where he settled in London, playing in the Orchestra of the Queen´s Theatre. His songs and piano pieces were
published in London.
While in London, Soualle met another exiled French musician, Louis Antoine Jullien, who conducted a light
music series in London. Jullien encouraged Soualle to take up the saxophone, and after modifying the instrument
by adding a single octave mechanism (the modern system used today) and keys for the lower register, Soualle
became known as a virtuoso and began touring performing solo recitals (or mono-concerts, as they were called
at the time) calling his modified saxophone the "turcophone ". He performed in all the European capitals and
then traveled to Australia, New Zealand, Manilla, Java, through China and then to India where he finally settled
in Mysore, becoming the director of the Royal Music for the Maharadjah. It was during this period that he converted
to Islam and changed his nmae to Ali ben Sou Alle (or "Ali, son of Soualle"). He subsequently travaled to Ile
Maurice, to French Polynesia, the Cap of Natal and the Cap of Good Hope. All of these voyages were subjects of
musical works which Soualle entitled "Souvenirs de..." and may perhaps have been part of a collection known as
"The Royal Album" which was presented to the Prince of Wales after a royal concert. Soualle returned to Mysore
in 1858 and was almost killed in the Indian Revolution.
Around 1860, Soualle returned to France for health reasons and began publishing his own music. On March 27
1865, he performed a command performance for the Emperor Napoleon III at the Tuileries Palace in the presence
of the entire Imperial Family. After 1865, nothing more is known about him.
Soualle not only performed on the clarinet, saxophone and piano, but also frequently sang during his concerts.
He also wrote songs while he was in London. Bade was the name of an independant Duchy which bordered
France and Switzerland which existed until the Second World War. The name Bade is derived from the town of
Baden-Baden. The work is divided into four sections: an introduction and Aria, and a sert of two variations
on an unidentified theme which is probably a folktune from the region, a Gaellic Romance and a final Valse
Brillante. The work is the only known piece in Soualle´s output originally written for the clarinet.