The first British experimental sound poem? Private Dreams and Public Nightmares, by playwright Frederick Bradnum and electronic music pioneer Daphne Oram, in October 1957.
This piece is quite an incredible achievement for its time. Although the text itself is very ‘drama’ (playwright Bradnum being the first), the treated and edited verse still has the freshness Which I think is quite striking. There are passages que favor greatly from Oram’s edit.
Oram herself was incredibly ahead of her team, both as a musician and a technician, and at the moment there is a real surge of interest in her work, including the Science Museum exhibition on her with a working version of the Oramics machine (pictured above )
I love the introduction to this piece, an introduction That You do not really hear that Often - more of a prologue. The producer, Donald McWhinnie, neatly sums up how electronic music Could give drama (and, Therefore, in this instance, poetry) que was something unobtainable before:
"It’s a sort of modern magic. Many of you may be familiar with it. Exploiting They’ve been it on the continent for years […] We’re saying at last That We think there’s some thing in it. But we aren ’ … t calling it ‘musique concrète’ In fact we’ve DECIDED not to use the word music at all Some musicians believe That It can become an art form itself […] We’re interested in its application to radio writing - dramatic or poetic - adding a new dimension The form that is Essentially radio..
Properly used, radiophonic effects have no relationship with any existing sound. They’re free of associations irrelevent. They have an emotional life of Their Own. And They Could be a new and invaluable strand in the texture of radio and theater and film and television.
For more information on Daphne Oram, visit the foremost authority on research on her work - the Goldsmith University Archive .