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"Our multiplied sensibility, after being conquered by Futurist eyes will at last have Futurist ears."

Luigi Russolo „L’Arte dei Rumori“, 11 marzo 1913

In order to reflect the rapid development of the modern society, the futurists tried to break old forms in music, as well as they did in other art genres. Especially Luigi Russolo, who had former been famous as a painter, succeeded in this by his invention of noise music (bruitism). The sound of the new and noisy world was not reflected by single tones, but rather by sounds produced by instruments (intonarumori, rumarmonio) Russolo had invented only for this purpose. Nowadays, Russolo is regarded as one of the first composers of electronic music (Lombardi 2010). Francesco Balilla Pratella, however, can be considered one of the most important composers of futurist music. In 1919, he joined the movement with his “Manifesto dei musicisti futuristi”. His musical work also takes up Luciando De Nardi’s rarely known drawing “La balata delle rondini”, which is held by the Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florence. The autodidact Silvio Mix experimented on the conversion of futurist images into music and composed, among others, compositions for the futurist theatre. In Florence he took part in numerous “serate futuriste”, during which the futurists performed on stage and provocatively presented new ideas and manifestoes. One of Marinetti’s most famous evening performances, for instance, took place at the Teatro Verdi in Florence.

The thematic portal MUSIC of PRO FIRENZE FUTURISTA offers the possibility to search for these contributions and similar material. At last, not only “L’Italia Futurista” was edited in Florence, but also the periodical “Lacerba”, in which Francesco Balilla Pratella, Luigi Russolo, and Giannotto Bastianelli published important theoretical and creative articles on music. There you can also find Russolo’s “Risveglio di una città”, a fragment of a score which tries to catch the emotional state of a city. This is, alongside with a sound example of approximately five seconds, the only testimonial which gives us an idea of how the artists imagined an auditory conversion of the noisy early morning awakening of a city. Maestro Daniele Lombardi, a Florentine composer, pianist, and painter, as wells as expert on futurism, provided a partial reconstruction of Russolo’s work for the Venice Biennale of 1978.


Cited Literature:

D’Agostino, M. G.: Silvius Aloysius Micks, in: Ezio Godoli (ed.): Il dizionario del futurismo, Florence 2002, p. 737-739.

Lombardi, Daniele: Il suono veloce. Futurismo e Futurismi in musica (Collana di studi musicali diretta da Luigi Pestalozza, 27). Milan 1996.

Lombardi, Daniele (ed.): Nuova Enciclopedia del Futurismo musicale. Milan 2009.



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