The futurists noisily proclaimed their message in Italy prior to the outbreak of World War I. Manifesto followed on manifesto, every form of violence, including war, was glorified, and anarchism, misogyny, and the destruction of everything representing tradition was preached. A few composers were also among their ranks, but Steffen Schleiermacher’s latest discovery demonstrates that their works sometimes contrasted greatly with the literary pamphlets issued by this group. Great music nevertheless – or perhaps for this very reason – was the result.
Things get underway with Francesco Balilla Pratella, the declared favorite of the futurist “top gun” Marinetti and the author of a futurist manifesto of his own. “Battle” from the trilogy “Expectation – Battle – Victory” could also stand for the program of futurist music, but things did not turn out this way. Already Gian Francesco Malipiero’s “Preludi autunnali” contain an autumn melancholy that sounds more like Debussy and Ravel than war and destruction.
Alfredo Casella’s “A notte alta” is the most extensive work on this CD. True to its title, this work evokes all sorts of associations with a hot and sultry Mediterranean night, including the erotic adventure that Casella claims to have set to music – but the listener will decide! Alberto Savinio, today at most known as a poet or a painter, offers in “Les Chants de la Mi-Mort” a richly allusive, extremely entertaining collage. Too bad that he did not finish the orchestral version!
Three short pieces of caricatural pomposity by Silvio Mix conclude Steffen Schleiermacher’s tour of Italy’s musical avant-garde. And the legendary “Manfred Bürki” Steinway concert grand piano from 1901 and Schleiermacher’s unerring feeling for fine nuances guarantee that tonal refinement gets its fair share along with all these surprising finds. Join us on this journey of discovery!