Di qui non-si passa: Luigi Nono and political engagement in post-war Italy

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Wilkins, Joe A.
Droste, Douglas
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This study examines the Italian composer Luigi Nono’s proximity to extremist violence and state oppression in the period between 1954 and 1968. American scholarship typically analyzes Nono’s work in this time through a transnational lens. Doing so naturally invites a comparison to his contemporaries in the Darmstadt School, chief among them Pierre Boulez and Karlheinz Stockhauzen. This attitude downplays the significance of the Italian composer’s domestic political affiliations, and the social conflict which followed him as a result. It is within this period that Nono develops the use of politically charged media as his key operating procedure. This writing argues that Nono’s proximity to political and social friction was a key factor in influencing the course of his compositional output, contrary to analyses which primarily examine contributions to the serial or experimental idioms, and thus do not consider innovations in source material. This writing uses primary and secondary sources to examine the linear progression of oppressive events which affected Nono in Italy, and the various ways he engaged with them. The sources presented in this writing show a pattern of extreme reaction to Nono’s politically charged composition from the Italian state and far-right; far more than is presented in the typical survey of his life and works.