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VA - Futurism & Dada Reviewed 1912-1959 (2000)

Unique collection of original sound recordings made by key figures from both 20th Century avant garde art movements. Three years in the making, and with over one hour of playing time, the CD features sound collages, tone poems, interviews and music made between 1912 and 1959 by luminaries such as: F.T. Marinetti (the poet and guiding light of Futurism in declamatory mode, circa 1931), Marcel Duchamp (a much-discussed but rarely-heard example of Duchamp's musical non-theory, its ambient tones still sounding timeless), Tristan Tzara (hugely influential poet of both Dada and Surrealism, whose abstract techniques went on to influence later writers such as William S. Burroughs), Wyndham Lewis (a rare 1940 reading by a leading light of the British futurist offshoot, Vorticism), Guillaume Apollinaire and Jean Cocteau (not members of either movement, but major influences on both, with Cocteau's contribution from 1929 a fascinating curiosity from the golden age of jazz). The collection also includes material by Antonio & Luigi Russolo, Kurt Schwitters, Marcel Janco, Luigi Grandi and Richard Huelsenbeck. Futurism & Dada Reviewed is a must-have artifact for anyone interested in actually hearing the work of these pioneers, as was originally intended. Retailers may wish to catalogue this item as a 'book' as well as a spoken word CD.


F.T. Marinetti was born in Alexandria in 1876 and educated in France, where he commenced his literary career. After gaining some success as a poet, he founded the journal Poesia (1905), from which the theories of Futurism soon evolved. With his first Futurist manifesto (Fondazione e Manifesto del Futurismo) in 1909, Marinetti launched the first significant 20th century avant-garde art movement, which interpreted modern developments in science and industry as signalling a new era, which in turn demanded novel and innovative art forms and language. Marinetti energetically promoted his own work, and that of his Futurist cohorts, through numerous manifestos, speeches, essays, meetings, performances and publications. His own lasting contribution was in the field of literary collage, which he called parole in libertŕ. Following the First World War Marinetti aligned himself with the Fascist movement, and was elected to the Academy of Italy in 1929. Until his death in 1944, he strove to reconcile the theories of Futurism with the ideology of Fascism, a path which has served to taint his reputation ever since.

The Battle of Adrianopolis and Definition of Futurism were recorded by Marinetti in April 1924 and issued by the Societa Nazionale del Grammofono (La Voce del Padronne) as R6915. As chief theorist of the speed-loving, machine-celebrating Futurists, Marinetti declared war 'the sole hygiene of the world' in his founding manifesto of 1909, and trucked around various small Balkan wars as a tourist - experiences which informed The Battle of Adrianopolis. In 1914 Marinetti was imprisoned for agitating in favour of Italy's early entry into the First World War.

Sintesi Musicali Futuristiche was recorded in 1931 for the Columbia label (DQ3661/CB 10663). Relatively little is known about Aldo Guintini, who accompanies Marinetti on improvised piano. A Futurist during the 1930s and 40s, his most celebrated pieces are Le machine (The Machine) and Il mare (The Sea) from the Sintesi Musicali Futuristiche. In 1943 he edited the Futurist Songbook of Love and War together with Marinetti, Giovanni Acquaviva and Vittorio Tommasini (aka Farfa).

LUIGI RUSSOLO (1887-1947)

Along with Francesco Balilla Pratella, Luigi Russolo was the true father of Futurist music, and his intonarumori (noise intoners) decades ahead of their time. . In March 1913 Russolo published The Art of Noises (L'arte dei rumori), now seen as the true manifesto of Futurist music, in which he flaunted his anti-qualifications with pride: 'I am not a musician by profession, and therefore I have no acoustical prejudices, nor any works to defend. I am a Futurist painter who projects beyond himself, into an art much-loved and studied, his desire to renew everything. Thus, bolder than a professional musician, unconcerned by my apparent incompetence, and convinced that my audacity opens up all rights and all possibilities, I am able to divine the great renewal of music by means of the Art of Noises.'

The noise intoners were essentially crude synthesisers, intended to reproduce an infinite variety of modern noise, and also regulate their harmony, pitch and rhythm. The instruments contained various motors and mechanisms and were operated by means of a protruding handle, while pitch was varied by with a lever and a sliding scale. The first public performance by intonarumori took place at the Teatro dal Verme in Milan on 21 April 1914. Russolo and Piatti were due to perform three pieces (Awakening of a City, The Meeting of Automobiles and Aeroplanes and Dining on the Hotel Terrace), although Russolo recalled that 'the immense crowd were already in uproar half an hour before the performance', and that missiles were thrown throughout, the abuse supposedly led by 'past-ist' music professors from the Royal Conservatory of Milan. The noise of the brawl drowned out the new (unamplified) music, and Marinetti described the experience of demonstrating his intoners to an incredulous public as 'like showing the first steam engine to a heard of cows.'

Russolo also performed at the London Colisseum in June, but the outbreak of the First World War curtailed Futurist activity outside Italy, and killed Russolo's plans for further European performances. In 1921 Russolo and his younger brother Antonio staged a performance at the Theatre des Champs Elysees in Paris, from which a quarrelsome Dada faction lead by Tristan Tzara were forcibly ejected. Later innovations included a noise harmonium and an enharmonic bow, and Luigi Russolo provided live soundtracks to several avant garde films at Studio 28. However the advent of talking pictures closed this avenue, and he performed in public for the last time in 1929. Tasting poverty and disappointment, Russolo abandoned Futurism in favour of mysticism, supernature and the occult, publishing his book Beyond the Material World in 1938.

None of his intonarumori survived the Second World War, and most of the scores have also disappeared. However seven bars of his pure noise work Awakening of a City were published in the review Lacerba, and this fragment was performed by Daniele Lombardi in 1978 using five intonarumori reconstructed for the Venice Biennale in 1977. Individual samples of each of the five machines constructed are also included here - gorgogliatore (gurgler), ronzatore (buzzer), ululatore (hooter) and crepitatore (crackler) - as well the enharmonic bow, a kind of saw which, when drawn across the strings of a violin or cello, produced a sound like a guitar or violin, completed by Russolo in 1925.


Antonio Russolo was the younger brother of Luigi, and also worked on the construction of the intonarumori along with Ugo Piatti. In 1924 the Societa Nazionale del Grammofono (La Voce del Padronne) released three 78 rpm records of Futurist works, one of which (R6919/20) paired Chorale and Serenate. Both are lesser works, being little more than the application of the noise intoners over conventional (and insignificant) compositions. However, they stand today as the only surviving aural document of the original intonarumori, and the practice of matching the intoners against conventional gramophone recordings was demonstrated as early as June 1914 by Luigi Russolo in London.

LUIGI GRANDI (1902-1973)

Little is known about the life and career of Luigi Grandi, although it is thought that he may have known Pratella. Cavalli + Acciaio was published in 1935 and dedicated to Renato Monticelli. Starting at a tempo notated as matto (crazy), it is one of the very few examples of 'machinistic' music in the Italian Futurist canon, with blocks of chords moving rhythmically from beginning to end. Another composition by Grandi, Aeroduello (Dogfight), was dedicated to Marinetti, and appears on our companion CD volume Music Futurista. Piano performance by Daniele Lombardi recorded in 1978.


Painter, poet, novelist, satirist, critic and self-styled Enemy. Together with an antagonistic group that included Ezra Pound, David Bomberg, Edward Wadsworth and Jacob Epstein, Lewis created the first modern British art movement, Vorticism, which owed much to Cubism and Futurism, but declared itself independent from both. The first Vorticist manifesto appeared in 1914, while Lewis also edited their in-house journal, Blast. Unlike Futurism, the movement did not survive the First World War, and during the Second its leader fled to North America. End of Enemy Interlude was recorded at Harvard University in 1940, and is taken from One Way Song. This recording appears courtesy of the Trustees of the Wyndham Lewis Memorial Trust, a registered charity, and the estate of Mrs G.A. Wyndham Lewis.


Born in Rome and educated in France, Apollinaire published his first writings under that name in the Revue Blanche of 1902. He met Max Jacob and Pablo Picasso in 1905, and frequented the artistic and literary circles of Montmartre and the Bateau-Lavoir. As well as novels and poetry he published much influential art criticism, and was one of the first the champion the Cubist movement. In 1911 the Mona Lisa was stolen from the Louvre by a former associate, and Apollinaire found himself arrested for complicity. Although he was soon cleared, the scandal left its mark. His verse collections Alcools (1913) and Calligrammes (1918) established his as the leading French poet of his day.

Having volunteered for service in the First World War, he survived a serious head wound in 1916, only to succumb to the great European influenza epidemic of 1918.

First and foremost an ally of the Cubists, Apollinaire's relations with Futurism remained as complex as those between the two rival movements themselves. However he greatly influenced many of the leading poets of Dada and Surrealism, and it was Apollinaire himself who coined the phrase 'surrealist' to describe his play Les Mamelles de Tiresias in 1917. Le Pont Mirabeau was recorded by Apollinaire in 1913 and appears courtesy of Archives de la Parole, Collection Phonotheque Nationale, Bibliotheque Nationale, Paris.

TRISTAN TZARA (1896-1963)

Born Samuel Rosenstock in Moinesti, Romania, Tzara moved to Zurich in 1916 and founded the original Dada group together with Hugo Ball, Emmy Hennings, Hans Arp, Marcel Janco, Hans Richter, Richard Huelsenbeck and other anti-war emigres.

Unlike the warlike Italian Futurists, the exponents of Dada reacted to the conflict with horror and disgust, and chose to remain in neutral Switzerland. The anarchic and anti-art Zurich Dadaists were concerned chiefly with literary activity, much of it presented on the stage of the celebrated Cabaret Voltaire. Primarily a writer and poet, Tzara claimed to have coined the term Dada (French for hobby-horse), and became the group's chief propagandist through the pages of the review Dada, which he mailed to a large number of contemporary artists, Apollinaire and Marinetti included. Once hostilities ceased Dada went global, and in January 1920 Tzara relocated to Paris, in order to continue artistic provocation in company with the proto-Surrealist group centred around Louis Aragon, Andre Breton and Philippe Soupault. By 1923 the alliance was in tatters, and factional scuffles broke out at the premiere of Tzara's play Coeur a gaz in July. During the 1930s Tzara was reunited with his former Surrealist Colleagues under the common banner of Marxism, in order to combat the rise of Fascism in Europe. An eager connoisseur and collector of African art, Tzara died of lung cancer in Paris in December 1963, having published 37 volumes of poetry, five plays, six collections of criticism and one volume of manifestoes.

On this recording Tristan Tzara is interviewed on the subject of 'Dada into Surrealism' by Olivier Todd in 1959. It appears courtesy of his son Christophe Tzara.


Born in Frankenau, Germany, Richard Huelsenbeck studied medicine in Berlin and Munich and there met Hugo Ball, the founding father of Dada. In 1916 he followed Ball to Zurich, and began performing at the anarchic literary nightclub Cabaret Voltaire. Hans Richter described him thus: "He is regarded as arrogant, and that's also how he looks. His nostrils vibrate, his eyebrows are arched." Huelsenbeck returned to Germany the following year, and in April 1918 founded a Club Dada in Berlin with Raoul Hausmann, George Grosz, Johannes Baader, Hannah Hoch, John Heartfield and others. More aggressive and directly political than its Zurich forebear, Berlin Dada issued numerous proclamations and manifestoes, and embraced visual art techniques such as photomontage, constructed objects and typography. Huelsenbeck's own works include Dada Almanac and En Avant Dada, both published in 1920, the same year in which Berliners organised the First International Dada Fair. After Berlin Dada petered out, Huelsenbeck fell back on his medical training and became a ship's doctor, before fleeing Nazi Germany and practising as a psycho-analyst in New York under the name Charles R. Hulbeck. In 1974 he published an autobiography, Memoirs of a Dada Drummer.

On this recording Richard Huelsenbeck is interviewed on the subject of 'Inventing Dada' by Basil Richardson in 1959. It appears courtesy of his daughter, Mariele B. Richardson.

MARCEL JANCO (1895-1985)

A Romanian painter and engraver, who became acquainted with Tzara in 1912, and met him again while studying architecture in Zurich. Janco also became involved with the Cabaret Voltaire, for which he created woodcuts, scenery, posters, costumes and masks.

MARCEL DUCHAMP (1887-1968)

Born near Blainville, France, Duchamp ranks as one of the most influential artists of the 20th century. In 1915 he all-but abandoned painting and relocated to New York, where he worked on radical 'ready-made' artwork such as Fountain, a urinal, reproduced in P12 of this booklet. Ready-mades may be defined as utilitarian objects (bottle driers, bicycle wheels) which achieve the status of art merely through the process of selection and presentation, and Duchamp's pioneering achievement was to identify the important of context and 'appointment' for the evaluation of a work of art. Other leading lights of Dada in New York included Francis Picabia and the photographer Man Ray.

Duchamp produced relatively few real paintings, the best known of which are Nude Descending a Staircase (1911), and the large stained glass window, La mariee mise a nu par ses celibataires, meme (The bride stripped bare by her batchelors, even, aka The Large Glass), which evolved between 1915 and 1923. Much more of his work, and influence, is in the sphere of the abstract and conceptual.

In about 1913 Duchamp also created a 'musical erratum' bearing the same title as the large glass, which also doubles as a theoretical system of music composition. Curiously absent from standard musical reference works, the irregular prerequisites are a funnel, some balls, and a toy train set with open trucks. Each of the balls is numbered to represent a separate note, and the balls then dropped down the funnel, positioned over the track. Chance dictates the order in which the balls drop into the trucks, which in turn decides the tonal sequence of the composition, itself always a random draw. Duchamp expressed no preference for any particular musical instrument, save that it should be of a new type. This version, performed by Mats Persson and Kristine Scholz in 1980, was played on a prepared piano, on which the ordinary action was replaced with a small electric motor and a rotary disc, which moved against the harp strings to produce the singular tones. John Cage would surely have approved. This recording appears courtesy of Riksconcerter/Caprice Records, Sweden.


Born in Hanover, Germany, Kurt Schwitters came to Dada relatively late, meeting Hausmann, Hoch and Arp in Berlin in 1918, and adopting some of Arp's collage and assemblage techniques to style his own unique variant, Merz. Denounced as imitative by Huelsenbeck, Schwitters was excluded from Club Dada, not least because his verse collection An Anna Blume became a surprise commercial success. Schwitters remained close to Hausmann, however, and on hearing his sound poem fmsbw in 1921 recognised the potential of this new form of expression. The resulting Die Sonata in Urlauten grew in size and scope over the years, this final version being recorded by Schwitters on 5 May 1932. This recording appears courtesy of his son Ernst Schwitters, and Cosmopress Geneva.

JEAN COCTEAU (1889-1963)

Immortal French poet, artist, director and auteur, Cocteau was born in Maisons-Lafitte and in Paris swiftly became a figure of enduring influence in the avant-garde. Primarily a poet, Cocteau regarded all his work - film, theatre, prose, sketches, criticism - as extensions of his chosen medium of poetry. Tristan Tzara liked Cocteau and his poetry, some of which was to have been read at the celebrated Soiree du Coeur a barbe (Evening of the Bearded Heart) on 6 July 1923, although it was the inclusion of verse by Cocteau which triggered the sensational riot involving Tzara's Dada faction, and the Surrealists lead by Andre Breton and Paul Eluard. Cocteau also contributed to Francis Picabia's journal 391.

Both La Toison d'Or (The Golden Fleece) and Les Voleurs d'Enfants (The Child Stealers) are taken from Cocteau's verse book Opera. These charming and playful recordings were made on 12 March 1929, with musical backing provided by the Dan Parrish Jazz Orchestra. The underlying music is (TGF) Holidays written by Dan Parrish, and (TCS) Pourquoi J'ai Regrette written by V. Lowry.

3 komentarze:

Ankh pisze...

@ @ @ @ @

zero pisze...

Wonderful share, thanks a lot!!!

the saucer people pisze...

A great compilation, disrupts the linear narrative of how 20th century music evolved in the most interesting of ways.

Anyone come across the sister album "Surrealism Reviewed" on the same label?

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