F.T. Marinetti (1876-1974)
Filippo Tommaso Marinetti
The poet and guiding light of Futurism carried out some of the most important musical experiments of the early 20th Century through his "mots en liberté" and his "Sintesi per il Teatro Tadiofonico." All his theoretical works are specifically concerned with music, from his manifestos to his various writings.
Filippo Tommaso Marinetti was born at Alexandria, Egypt in 1876. He attended a religious school and founded a magazine "Papyrus", fortnightly, cultural, anticlerical. In 1893 he move to Paris where he obtained his baccalaure after he graduated in law at Genoa. He immediately entered the bohemian life of the cafés and became a symbolist. He met Catulle Mendès and Gustav Kahn. In 1902 Deschamps published his "La conquête des etoiles", dedicated to Kahn. In 1899 Sarah Bernhardt recited poems of his which had reviously appeared in "Anthologie-Revue de France et d'Italie". On completion of his studies Marinetti went to live with his family in Milan and founded the magazine "Poesia" (1905) with Sem Benelli. So far he was to be considered a French poet. In 1905 he published a satirical tragedy "Le Roi Bombance" (King Revel), a gastronomic satire performed in 1909, in which he attacked "things old and worm-eaten, tombs, museums, and libraries". In 1906 he wrote "La ville charnelle" and "A mon Pégase," a poem glorifying the motor-car, as well as "Mafarka le futuriste" , hailed in France but banned in Italy, accused of being pornographic but later absolved. Finally, in 1909, Marinetti issued the first "Futurist manifesto", drawn up in the editorial office of "Poesia" by Marinetti, Buzzi, Cavacchioli, Govoni, Folgore, Mazza and De Maria. The manifesto, issued simultaneously in French and Italian, was published in "Le Figaro" on 20th February 1909 and caused an immediate stir. There followed a series of manifestos on society ("Uccidiamo it chiaro di luna") ("Let us kill the moonlight"), on painting, music, sculpture, literature, lust, the theatre, tactilism, etc., written by painters, musicians, sculptors, but always under Marinetti's influence.
In the "Manifesto tecnico sulla letteratura futurista" ("Technical manifesto on futurist literature"), Marinetti, who was to reiterate and develop these ideas in the manifesto "Imaginazione senza fili e le parole in libertà" ("Imagination without strings and words at liberty'), pronounced himself in favour of the destruction of the traditional syntax, the abolition of adjectives and adverbs. It is interesting to note that for Thibaudet the futurist words at liberty are the poetic adventure par excellence, consequence of ihe poetry at liberty of the five of 1870 (Verlaine, Rimbaud, Lautréamont, Corbière) and of the verse at liberty of the free-verse symbolists (Mallarmé). It is of interest here to point out the historical links of these passages, on the one hand, and the importance, on the other, of the free-word placards as an example of plasticverbal research, which becomes plastic-phonic in futurist recitation, enunciated in Marinetti's manifesto "La declamazione dinamica e sinottica" ("Dynamic and synoptic declamation") (1916). Marinetti wrote important manifestos: "Manifesto dei Drammaturghi futuristi" ("Manifesto of the futurist dramaturges") (1911); "Lo splendore geometrico e meccanico e la sensibilitd numerica" ("Geometrical and mechanical splendour and numerical sensitiviy") (1914); Tattilismo" ("Tactilism") (1921); "1l teatro delta sorpresa" ("The theatre of surprise") (1921); "It teatro totale per masse" ("The total theatre for the masses"), etc. Many of these manifestos remain extremely fertile sources of ideas which have still to be developed. Marinetti died at Bellagio in 1944.