Wednesday, October 15, 2014

A brief comment on NRK, Arne Nordheim and Eugeniusz Rudnik

Recently the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation (NRK) sent a radio-documentary about Arne Nordheim and his technician Eugeniusz Rudnik. Nordheim and Rudnik worked together on several of Nordheim's classic electroacoustic pieces from in Studio Experymentalne in Warsaw: Ode to Light (1968), Solitarie (1968), Pace (1970), Poly-Poly/Lux et Tenebrae (1970), and several others. Much of this music can be heard on the album Electric.

The documentary was called "The forgotten technician. A different portrait of Arne Nordheim, and a central claim was that Nordheim had “forgotten” about Rudnik. It is also implied in the program that Nordheim deliberately tried to underplay Rudnik’s influence on his work.

This is how the radio documentary was announced on NRK.no. The headline reads "Arne Nordheim's secret." 

The fact however, is that Nordheim never consciously tried to tone down Rudnik’s contributions. On the contrary he often talked warmly about what he called his “superb technician." One example out of many: In the cover of the album Dodeka from 2003, which is a reworking of much of his previous electroacoustic music, Nordheim writes:

To help me with the technical implementation of this project I was fortunate enough to have had the assistance of some of the most renowned experts of our time in the field of electronic sound production: Eugeniusz Rudnik and Bogdan Mazurek from Warsaw and Mats Claesson and Sigurd Saue from Norway.

I have written an article (in Norwegian) called “What secret, NRK?” about what I felt were the gravest issues raised in the documentary. It was published on Ballade.no on Monday. Yesterday I participated in the radio program Spillerom on NRK P2, where I voiced some of the same critique, and discussed the role of the technician in electroacoustic music together with Mats Claesson.