Luigi Verdi, Kandinskij e Skrjabin. Realtà e utopia nella Russia pre-rivoluzionaria, Akademos & Lim, Lucca, 1996

Review by Piero Santi, in Civiltà musicale, 25, XI, 3, 1996, pp.88

Verdi’s book gives one among the richest accounts and documentations ever appeared in Italy on Skrjabin within the Russian culture of his time, precisely as regards the relations between music and the other  literary, visual, choreutical, architectural arts within the symbolistic and esoteric views of that time and relative to the synaesthesia.

The Russian cultural life of the early years of the 20th century, seen through the works of two artists as Skrjabin and Kandinskij,  which is for many reasons emblematic of that period, appears to be crucial  for the determination of many subsequent artistic experiences. To this Verdi devotes the brief Introduction to his study, while the Finale “in margine” is reserved to some of the further experiences which may somehow refer to Skrjabin’s and Kandinskij’s ones: there are noted, with plenty of quotations, the affinities among the Russian artists of the contemporary “silver age”, the influence of the musician on the post-revolutionary Russia, the sound-colour research at the Bauhaus in Weimar,  where Kandinskij used to teach from 1922, and finally the sound-colour  relation in some 20th century composers, among whom Alaleona, Bartok, Bliss, Slavenskij, Frazzi, Wysnegradskij, Messiaen may just be listed in short.

 As to the actual subject of the book, it is arranged in three parts (The origins, Sounds and Colours, Synthesis among the arts), each  in turn divided into seven chapters, “so as almost to point out – as the author declares – even in this partition, the importance of numerical symbols in Kandinskij’s and Skrjabin’s works”. The work is complete with an essential set of illustrations and with a rich bibliography.

Piero Santi



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