Tristan Tzara (1896-1963)



1. Pour Compte (6.02), from Phases, 1949

2. L'amiral Cherche Une Maison à Louer

(Tristan Tzara, Marcel Janco, Richard Hulsenbeck)

3. Dada Into Surrealism (1959)

4. Toto Vaca (Maori song), 1924 [3:17]
Performed by Anat Pick

5. An Petro, 1924 [0:34]
Performed by Anat Pick

6. La Panka, 1916-17 [1:53]
Performed by Anat Pick




"L'amiral Cherche Une Maison à Louer" is one of the best known examples of Dada tonal poetry, in which several voices speak, sing, whistle, etc. simultaneously in such a way that the resulting combinations account for the total effect of the work. The simultaneous poem demonstrates the value of the human voice and is a powerful illustration of the fact that an organic work of art has a will of its own. The piece was written in 1916 as a performance piece for the Caberet Voltaire by Tristan Tzara, Richard Hulsenbeck and Marcel Janco.

Janco (1895-1985), a Romanian painter and engraver, had become acquainted with Tzara in 1912, working with him on the magazine "Simbolul." Whilst studying architecture in Zurich in 1915, he met Tzara again and became involved in the Cabaret Voltaire, for which he made woodcuts and abstract reliefs, posters, costumes and masks.

The version featured here is not an original recording but one made by the Italian Trio Excoco: Hanna Aurbacher, Theophil Maier and Ewald Liska.


Some verses of Tristan Tzara, for example "nfoünta mbaah mbaah nfoünta", inspired by African singsong, seem to be analogous to Hugo Ball's work, but in general Tzara's poems consisted of absurd encounters of meanings, and not of sounds, such as the famous "La première aventure céleste de M.Anitpryine" (1916) and the poem that he composed in collaboration with Marcel Janco and Richard Huelsenbeck "L'amiral cherche une maison à louer" (The admiral looks for a house to rent). Tzara's dadaism is not phonic but semantic.

Tristan Tzara, pseudonym of Sami Rosenstok, born at Moinesti, Rumania, in 1896, died in Paris in 1963. Poet and writer in the French language. Took part in the foundation of the dadaist movement at Zurich. In 1917 he published the magazine "Dada" and, in the third numbe, the first dadaist manifesto. At the end of 1919 he moved to Paris. Contributed to almost all the dadaist publications in Zurich, New York, Paris, Berlin, Hanover and Cologne.