ERdada 80/50/39’40”

Let's start with an anecdote related to the Festival and creative inspiration. The famous Polish Radio Experimental Studio, the first of its kind in Eastern Europe, was visited in its heyday by numerous international guests. During the 1966 Warsaw Autumn festival, it was visited by a delegation of composers from the USSR, who were critical of what they termed "rotten avant-garde." Rudnik was on duty at the consoles and presented examples of its use, met by ironic smiles of his Soviet guests. One of them reached the heights of Socialist realist irony and "constructive satire" and asked: "And if you play this tape backwards, will it sound equally bad " Rudnik did not react immediately, but followed by composing the pioneer polyversional work Scalars (1966) for tape, in which the playing direction, tape speed, and channel distribution can be freely chosen. Each variants "sounds well," displaying elements of musical meaning thanks to the compositional shaping of the material. Apart from Rudnik, only James Tenney trialled polyversional music in that period.

Inspirational impulses for Rudnik's composition ERdada 80/50/39'40" luckily included totally different circumstances that are hinted at in the work's title: the composer's 80th birthday and 50th anniversary of working at the Polish Radio Experimental Studio. Nearly 40 minutes of new music were created within a single day, on 22 April 2012. Rudnik chie y based the work on unused material from 1971, when he recorded his Divertimento. Winner of many awards, that work was based on sound scraps of "special meaning": a wide array of coughs, chokes, slurps, and burps cut notably from official speeches cleaned by the Polish Radio before backup. What a pitiless disruptive joke by Rudnik! Of course, only cognoscenti knew the origin of the work's building materials. Apart from those prohibited rarities, ERdada also included other voices: that of composer Krzysztof Penderecki and singer Bernard Ładysz, registered during studio work in 1972. The deformation of human voice surprisingly points to its divine provenance. Its dimensions - vocal and verbal - remain noble; asemantic phonemes begin to mean outside words and notes. The composer thus spoke about his new audio "erratum," a postscript of sorts to his earlier Divertimento:

roughout my years of work, I have realised that word can become music and sound can gain meaning. In my Dada­like erratum, I nally have the time to talk with listeners about that. Some of my works are tagged neo­Dada. It is true that I have great respect for Dadaists and their poetry devoid of any logical succession - I too keep playing entertaining myself, as be ts a born "homo ludens" and "homo radiophonicus."

My ERdada is meant to be leafed through, sampled by fragments; there is no plot here, no start, climax and relaxation. Rather, it is a neverending prose poem, which, even though you try to resist it, draws you as a book browsed at random. One listener likened it to Joyce's Ulisses. Structurally speaking, my work has some returns and repetitions but is not a plot. It has no artisan prettiness, which I often strived to achieve when composing (a distribution of dynamic and emotional extremes, a climax one third from the end, and so forth). Here, I consciously do not aim for formal balance. On the other hand - and it is another characteristic of this composition - I do not use dirt, no lowly matter. What is perceivable is the outstanding supremacy of the human voice, my passion for its transformations, working on phonemes, "oh"'s and "ah"'s, "slurps," thus verging on erotophony. I build quasipoetic structures that exist for their own sake, pick my interest for a while, then I turn the page and there comes a fragment as if from another work.

The material is, of course, rejected stuff from forty years ago that now seems prettier to me than I was at that time... But I am selling you no obsolete inventory here, I am not dumping wares no­one wanted before. Rather, I reach to a shelf to pick up a thing I particularly like and show it to the listener. Sometimes, these are variations of my obsessive structures that follow me my entire life. There is no cure for that.

The work was played in public for the first time at the IRCAM hall of the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris on 18 October 2013. It was later released on the CD ERdada for tape published by Requiem Records and the National Centre for Culture in 2013.

Bolesław Błaszczyk