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
Scott Joiner sings cummings songs again
Scott Joiner and Eric Sedgwick reprised my settings of e e cummings love songs — now retitled “Speaking of Love” (a line from one of the poems) — at the Manhattan School of Music last night. The first part of the program was an unusual collection of Italian songs in three different Italian dialects: Venetian (songs from Stravinsky’s ” Pulcinella”), Neapolitan (songs by Luigi Denza, Tosti and others) and Florentine (also known as Italian; songs by Monteverdi, Verdi and Bellini. Plans are in the works to record the set as part of an album of Salzman vocal music.
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.
Video of “Jukebox” posted on YouTube
A complete video of the Salzman/Vasilevski “Jukebox in the Tavern of Love” has been posted on YouTube — just in time for Valentine’s Day! The performance is by the Western Wind who commissioned the work and gave its premiere performance at The Flea Theater in New York’s Tribeca. The production, directed by Valeria Vasilevski features the same Western Wind singers that can be heard on the recent Labor/Naxos recording of the work: Kristina Boerger, soprano; Laura Christian, soprano; William Zukof, counter-tenor; Todd Frizzell, tenor; Richard Slade, tenor; Elliot Levine, baritone.