alberto savinio

A MUSICAL PUKING1

Alberto Savinio, real name Andrea Francesco Alberto de Chirico (25 August 1891 – 5 May 1952) was an Italian writer, painter, musician, essayist, playwright, set designer and composer. He was the younger brother of the painter Giorgio de Chirico.


Although brought up to be gallant

signor jocundo, e
sempre de le donne … perfecto amicho
savio e cortese più che belle dama

I have never been able to hold back the spasms of the most pressing nausea each time I find myself face to face with Euterpe 2. My stomach is still refractory to the company of this artistic figurative representation of sounds, the very presence of which sets off in my intestines the same effects and consequences as the most swaying heave of our childhood’s swung vertigo.

We have often been wrong about painting and poetry; we have always been wrong about music.

Its tardy development will later operate on that of the other two. Despite this considerable handicap, it will overtake the leaders of the race and arrive, as though in a bath chair, at the finishing post of utter stupidity and huge misunderstanding.

Among the music-makers there has never been a single clairvoyant mind. Senza il menomo madore d’affettazione—I must confess a natural aversion for anything touching the chromatic world.

Thanks to intense training, I now easily resist any titillation that comes from harmony or melody.

Everything to do with this decrepit and malevolent art plunges me into the meanest sadness.

I take to all sorts of reading: a “History of Music” demands a painful effort from me. I blush when I see myself placed in the shady tableau of makers of sharps and flats.

One evening, before going to bed, having imprudently opened a book of music, it disturbed that sort of serene mood which is vital to me at this solitary and, above all, precious hour of the day, and it gave me, during my succeeding sleep, a series of obscene dreams and harrowing miseries. I thus learnt from experience and, since then, if I have to devote myself to sharps, I do so in the middle hours of the day; I then have time to repair my palate with some entertaining occupation and reparative thoughts.

In its current state, music is a demented and immoral art; an example of bourgeois perversity; an art open to all the vices.

More odious and sticky than pity, it welcomes in its arms not only widows and orphans, but also entire crowds of renegades and the accursed.

Deceitful consolation for the degenerate, for all those with a weight on their consciences, with cancer in their souls, for all the vile, the submissive, the born-cursed.

Art that flatters and encourages the crowd’s basest instincts; shameless mirror of all the obscenity of a world without laws or morals.

I emphasise two moments in my life that gave me the most intense and most inexpressible disgust: the first took place in my childhood, one day, at the instigation of a blood-thirsty kitchen boy, I sawed the head off a nestling; the second happened in my adolescence, one evening when I was pushed by a music-loving German into attending a sort of theatrical orgy where the sonorous turpitudes of Richard Strauss provided a scene of debauchery.

Above all, in its current state, music is an insult to the dignity of all citizens, be they aristocrat, bourgeois or proletariat, rather lacking in honesty or clean in their linen and business.

The charm of harmony is the greatest threat to the honour of free men. Among the primary causes of criminality due to degeneracy we must place—in first position—music, well in front of alcoholism!

Dense populations of idiotic, ignorant, filthy, sick, degenerate people enter into the Temple of Music as if they were at home there. And they are—indeed—perfectly at home there, because here there is celebrated a devotion within the reach of all the most repugnant baseness of the mind: it is a publicly funded hospice for all of humanity’s rejects.

At the time when, unprejudiced, I abandoned myself foolishly to the embrace of this rabble-rousing vice—alas, so few years separate me from that woeful era!—I constantly experienced distasteful reactions. Remorse gripped me—and I had not even slept with Aspasia!—I loathed myself, I felt guilty, I groaned under the weight of my sins. When the grin of libidinous bestiality had been wiped from my face, I sunk into desperation, I bent my head and doubled over, like a brute who has just reached orgasm.

Post coitum animal triste est!

  1. 1917

  2. Euterpe is the Greek muse of music.


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