Balilla Pratella: Musica Futurista

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Disenchanted with Opera-dominated Italy, Italian composer Balilla Pratella took a different approach to composing and performance. In 1910 he joined the futurist movement and wrote ‘The Manifesto of Futurist Musicians ‘. Pratella’s manifesto was both unconventional and controversial at the time promoting:

  • Young musicians to keep away from institutions and to study music independently
  • Focusing on new music in preference to the old
  • Composing and performing freely without the involvement of academics or critics

Balilla’s approach is brilliantly summed up in the following quote from the first page of the manifesto that made a big impression on me after discovering it as a young music student:

“I appeal to the young, to those who are thirsty for the new, the actual, the lively. They follow me, faithful and fearless, along the roads of the future, gloriously preceded by my, by our, intrepid brothers, the Futurist poets and painters, beautiful with violence, daring with rebellion and luminous with the animation of genius”.

Balilla Pratella, 1910 

Pratella’s original manifesto available to read in full here and a summary/commentary on the manifesto of futurist musicians here

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Music, Marketing and Design
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