Private Dreams and Public Nightmares
by Frederick Bradnum

Frederick Bradnum - Private Dreams and Public Nightmaress: A Radiophonic Poem

BBC Third Programme

Broadcast: Monday 7th October 1957

In the mid-1950s, together with the radio producer (and friend of Beckett) Donald McWhinnie and Desmond Bristow, Frederick Bradnum tentatively began what would later become the celebrated BBC Radiophonic Workshop, writing the first - probably only - radiophonic poems, of which "Private Dreams and Public Nightmaress" (1957), with the voices of the actors Frederick Treves, Joan Sanderson and Andrew Sachs (all then young bloods) mixed in with electronic music and random electronic sound-patterns, was the most successful.

In this programme, Frederick Bradnum has given us a text specifically designed to exploit some of these new sounds and dependent on them for full effect. Every sound you hear in is a new one and has been specially made. Each voice has been specially treated. By these technical means, emotional effects with the human voice can be achieved as a basis quite different from anything the actor can do on his own.

The subtitle is, "A Radiophonic Poem", an art form that exists quite distinct from the poem on the page or the poem read aloud - a poetic experience which only exists in terms of a sound complex. This programme isn't a model. It simply tries to indicate the sort of possibilities that are within reach.

The programme opens with a four minute introduction by Donald McWhinnie

Radiophonic effect devised by the recording Engineers of the B.B.C.

With Joan Sanderson [Voice 1], Andrew Sachs [Voice 2], and Frederick Treves [Voice 3].

Produced by Donald McWhinnie

20 min.


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