Labor Records in collaboration with Naxos is releasing a series of recordings of my work covering more than half a century! The most recent release is "Jukebox in the Tavern of Love" paired with a new work by Meredith Monk. "The Nude Paper Sermon" and "Wiretap" is a double album containing no fewer than five works; see below for details. "Civilization & its Discontents" is a words-and-music collaboration with Michael Sahl. More information, reviews and ordering (physical or digital editions) is available below or by going to Labor Records.
20 Years of Cutting Edge Concerts
Victoria Bond’s review of the twenty years of her Cutting Edge Concerts on New Music Box <http://www.newmusicbox.org/articles/twenty-seasons-of-cutting-edge-concerts/> includes a nice paragraph on her performance of “The True Last Words of Dutch Schultz” with Theo Bleckman (who originated the role in Europe) and directed by Valeria Vasilevski (who put the libretto together out of Dutch Schultz’s actual last words and directed the original European touring production). Victoria also directed the Symphony Space production with Dirk Weiler (directed by Grethe Holby) which was a feature of the 2007 Wall-to-Wall Opera Marathon.
Kristin Norderval recently posted the following:
“WOW. What a year it has been!!
Beyond the political turbulence, there were many personal firsts.
2016 saw the premiere of my first full-length opera -The Trials of Patricia Isasa – at the Monument National Theater in Montreal; the release of my first CD on a jazz label; and the first performance in New York of ‘Cassandra Ground Zero’, a one woman opera written for me by Eric Salzman in 2001 that has had multiple performances in Europe but none in the US until this year in a new production expertly directed by Kira Simring and produced by the Center for Contemporary Opera. In the fall of 2016 I also had the honor of creating the soundscore for a new jill sigman/thinkdance production – Weed Heart – and participating in multiple related talk-backs and community meetings focused on issues of sustainability and racial justice. All of my work this year felt extremely relevant to the big issues that we are grappling with at this time.”
For those who need an introduction, Kristin is a hugely talented Norwgian-American singer, composer and computer performer!. Her No. 1 achievement in 2016 was the premiere of her own work, “The Trials of Patricia Isasa”, based on the true story of a survivor from the dark period of Argentine fascism not so many years ago. I believe that, unbelievably enough, Patricia Asasa herself attended the premiere which was very well received in Canada although, as usual with important American work abroad, it was ignored here. Anyway it’s an honor to be No. 2 on her 2016 hit list. It was a wonderful performance of “Cassandra” (produced by the Center for Contemporary Opera in collaboration with The Cell) and it can be seen on YouTube!
Ed Shockley, a writer and playwright from Philadelphia, wrote the libretto for “Bobos”, a hip-hop opera, with James McBride which I produced with the American Music Theater Festival. His post was a generous plug for the Oxford New Music Theater book that I wrote with Thomas Desi:
“James McBride and I worked this Eric Salzman several years in Philadelphia as we were doing “Bobos.” This is an important book. James McBride and I worked almost ten years to make it but Eric Salzman was the only one who was not afraid to say the work “Hip-Hop-Opera. (See number 367 in this book.)
My old collaborator, Michael Sahl, is not well and has moved out of his apartment to a care facility while several of his associates — Beth Anderson, Laurie Speigel, Steve Rathe — have been collecting his scores and recordings for an archive at SUNY Buffalo where Michael was an artist in residence years ago. This is not the place to go into Michael’s distinguished, long and prolific career but Michael and I wrote six music-theater works in collaboration. They are “The Conjurer” (Public Theater; directed by Tom O’Horgan); “Civilization & Its Discontents” (AMDA, NPR, published by G. Schirmer, recorded by Nonesuch Records; currently available on Labor/Naxos); “Stauf” (our cabaret Faust; performed at Cubiculo, Philadelphia Theatre Company/American Music Theater Festival); “Noah” (commissioned by the N. Carolina School of the Arts; performed at Pratt Institute, Washington Sq. Methodist Church and the Jewish Center for Services for the Aged; WBAI); “The Passion of Simple Simon” (Theatre for the New City; WNYC); “Boxes” (KCRW/APR, Seagram Award, National Music Theatre Network, Victory Theater NYC). “Boxes” was the only work in which text and music were credited separately (music by Michael, text by Eric Salzman; the others were words-and-music collaborations). All of these are full-length theater/opera works except “Civilization” which is a one acter.
Apparently none (or very little of this material) has been found in Michael’s apartment so I have been working on collecting, updating and digitizing the scores and recordings in my possession to make them available for the archive.
Date Posted // December 11, 2016
In Categories // Boxes, Civilization & Its Discontents, Civilization and Its Discontents, Music Theater, News, Noah, Sahl/Salzman collaborations, Staif, The Conjurer, The Passion of Simple Simon
American Premiere of Cassandra:
On November 2nd, 2016, the Center for Contemporary Opera presented the final event of its fall festival: a program of Eric Salzman’s vocal music including the American premiere of “Cassandra Ground Zero” with a libretto by his poet/librettist daughter, Eva Salzman. The work was performed by Kristin Norderval, the Norwgian-American soprano for whom it was written. Ms Norderval, who accompanies herself on piano and with live computer processing of her voice, premiered the work at the Ultima Thule and NewOp Festivals in 2001 in Oslo, Norway, and subsequently performed it in Vienna, Austria, and in Germany. This is a modern version of the Cassandra myth which takes place on a Greek island just before Cassandra goes into Agamemnon’s palace where she foresees that she will be killed. Cassandra has the gift of prophecy but, because she rejected Apollo’s advances, he cursed her so that she would never be believed. The performance was at the Cell Theater which co-produced the evening; it was stage directed by Kira Simring, the artistic director of the theater. The program also included several sets of songs by Salzman including his Walt Whitman setting “On the Beach at Night” and “A Meredith Bestiary”, poems by William Meredith, both sung by Jessica Fishenfeld, soprano, with Eric Sedgwick, piano, and “Speaking of Love” a set of e e cummings love poetry performed by Scott Joiner, tenor, with Eric Sedgwick. An added feature was a short film, “Connection Lost: A Tinder Opera” by Adam Taylor with music by Scott Joiner who was also featured in the film and who generously credits Salzman with some of the inspiration for the film.
recent review of Jukebox from Cadence Magazine
“Fans of contemporary and early vocal music are well-served on the most recent release by the Western Wind Vocal Ensemble. They feature two recent pieces: Meredith Monk’s “Basket Rondo” and Eric Salzman’s “Jukebox In The Tavern Of Love”….
Salzman’s piece is subtitled “A Madrigal Comedy” perhaps inaugurating a new genre. It surely is unique. It involves six characters (an Italian-American bartender, a nun, a Broadway dancer, an Orthodox Rabbi, and Irish poet and a utility worker) who meet in a bar in New York City during a summer blackout. With the ethnicity factor, it sounds like a bad joke is about to be sprung (did you hear the one about…) but the ethnicity is actually deftly handled as each singer reveals her/his character and story. The libretto is by Valeria Vasilevski and the comedy can be mildly funny as when the chorus sings about “romping with my baby” while the dancer shouts out tap dance steps….But what makes this worth hearing is the ensemble’s execution of the material. There are some interesting interludes with multi-part madrigal harmony and counterpoint. The ensemble blends beautifully and the writing is quite good. It’s an unusual piece, to be sure and worth hearing, especially by those with a taste for contemporary vocalizing.