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Ars Nova. Pubblicazione della Società Italiana di Musica Moderna

(Rome, 1917-1919)

Prepared by Elvidio Surian
Online only (2018)

The journal Ars nova [ARN] was published irregularly in Rome from 1917 to 1919. Altogether, eleven monthly installments consist of eight, twelve, sixteen pages numbered separately in each issue, and were printed in a double-column format in July 1917, December 1917 to May 1918, November 1918 to February-March 1919. The irregularity of publication was due principally to difficulties related to high cost of paper.

ARN was founded and directed throughout by Alfredo Casella (1883-1947), an important protagonist of Italian musical and intellectual life of the time. In 1916 Casella gathered a group of young composers around him and founded the Società Italiana di Musica Moderna (SIMM). ARN was the official mouthpiece of the Società, and its publication was financed exclusively by its members.

The primary aim of the lively, subversive, provocative periodical was to raise the level of Italian modern music to be diffused through conferences and concerts—mainly of instrumental music—which the SIMM organized in Italy and abroad, often provoking violent protests by the provincial Italian public. In keeping with the newest trends in contemporary literature and the visual arts ARN features a series of articles by avant-garde poets and painters, including, among others Giovanni Papini, Alberto Savinio, Giorgio De Chirico, Mario Recchi, Carlo Carrà. Most noteworthy are the essays dealing specifically with musical aesthetics published by Casella and Busoni, and accounts of the activities of the SIMM.