Eric Salzman: Composer, Author, Music Theater Innovator

square1
square2
square3
square4
square5

New Releasings

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.

Jukebox in the Tavern of Love Nude Paper Sermon - Wiretap Civilization Discontents

Western Wind recording of madrigal comedy is ready!

“Jukebox in the Tavern of Love” is the title of a modern madrigal comedy commissioned by the Western Wind Vocal Ensemble — a contemporary take on a 16th century music-theater form. The text is by Valeria Vasilevski and the music by Eric Salzman. Six New Yorkers — a bartender, a dancer, a rabbi, a nun, a Con Ed worker and a poet — find themselves trapped in a bar during a raging thunderstorm and blackout and they pass the time telling their personal stories about love until the lights come back on. The Western Wind gave the premiere and has performed the work at Bargemusic, the Flea Theater and Tenri Cultural Institute in New York. They have now recorded the work for Labor/Naxos and it is scheduled for release early next year together with the premiere recording of “Basket Rondo”, a new work by Meredith Monk, also commissioned by the ensemble. This will be the third in the series of recordings of Salzman’s work; the earlier releases were “Civilization & Its Discontents” (with Michael Sahl), “The Nude Paper Sermon” and the four works that make up “Wiretap” in a double album.

New reviews of Labor Records releases

New reviews of the Labor Records releases — “Civilization & Its Discontents”, “The Nude Paper Sermon” and “Wiretap” — are in the current issue of the American Record Guide. They can be found here and here. If the copy comes up small you should be able to enlarge the type to a readable size. Like the other reviews of these releases, these are very insightful!

Date Posted // April 25, 2013
In Categories // Civilization and Its Discontents, News, Recordings, Reviews, The Nude Paper Sermon, Wiretap

new review of Nude Paper Sermon & Wiretap

Here is a new review by Dustin Mallory of “The Nude Paper Sermon” and “Wiretap” from the current (April/May) issue of Cadence. More information, listening excerpts, etc. are at <www.laborrecords.com/lab7092.html>

“The career of Eric Salzman includes the titles of music critic, author, educator, academic, and producer. His work in these areas frequently overshadows his wonderful gifts as a composer and a visionary of the future of musical theatre. This two-disc release reissues the late ‘60s and early ‘70s performances of his musical drama “Wiretap,” and probably his most famous composition, “The Nude Paper Sermon.” Both pieces are very difficult to perform, but the ensembles successfully handle the undertaking.

“The Nude Paper Sermon” blurs the lines of time and genre by mixing the sounds of a Renaissance consort and The New York Motet Singers, with a modern inclusion of electronic sounds and an actor/narrator. The actor positions himself as a media/cultural voice that frequently dates the performance to the late ‘60s with references to segregation, Pete Seeger, and Martha Graham. The collage of sounds personifies the second half of the 20th Century as an intricate and often overwhelming experience of overstimulation and complication.

“Wiretap” is the slightly lesserknown collection of four movements on American life. Each subject seeks to “tap” into the mind of the listener to discover an awareness of the self and its multifarious relationships with the world. Spatial existence, discomfort, manifestation, struggle, fantasy, and reality are all explored using musical sensibilities. Philosophically, the piece seems to suggest that music is not the “art in life,” but rather that music, social interactions, and media as an entire experience, are the “art of life.” From a musical perspective, innovative techniques in vocalization, electro-acoustic textures, and instrumentation are explored. Silverman’s guitar plays a fascinating role juxtaposed against Ross’s voice. Nagrin’s voiced sounds seem to symbolize
the haunting and longing nature of the human spirit for something unknown. The real interest here will be how this compressed psychosomatic journey will affect the twenty-first century listener.”

a new review

Reviews of the Labor/Naxos release “The Nude Paper Sermon” and “Wiretap”  <www.laborrecords.com/lab7092.html> continue to appear. The latest is from Grapplegate Classical-Modern Music Review (Grego Applegate Edwards):

Re: The Nude Paper Sermon: “…A narrator, in a lengthy and sometimes rapid-fire monologue, personifies a sort of voice of the media, pontificating in a disjointed and sometimes surreal manner on anything and everything while an acoustic-electric collage of Babel crowd voices, a Renaissance style vocal group, noise, Boschian effects from a modern hell, all combine to make a soundscape that is both funny, mind expanding and, especially at the time, terrifying. It is one of the better multi-stranded collage pieces of the era, at the same time leaves you with an acute and aesthetically satisfying portrayal of a contemporary world so overloaded with messages and input that meaning is in short supply.”

“…(Wiretap) captures the experimental excitement of the era, some of the excesses of expression the era produced, and the urgent impetus to create relevant works that somehow commented on the vitality and critical impact of the passing scene.”

You can find the full review at <classicalmodernmusic.blogspot.com>

Date Posted // December 05, 2012
In Categories // Music Theater, News, Recordings, Reviews, The Nude Paper Sermon, The Nude Paper Sermon, Wiretap, Wiretap

Labor/Naxos to release “Nude Paper Sermon” & “Wiretap”

Labor Records and Naxos will release Eric Salzman’s The Nude Paper Sermon and Wiretap as a double album on October 30, 2012.

The Nude Paper Sermon, the 2nd Nonesuch Records commission, was an innovative music-theater work in every dimension, a multi-media work in recorded form. It features an actor/narrator (Stacy Keach), a Renaissance ensemble (the Nonesuch Consort under Joshua Rifkin with William Zukof, countertenor, Alan Titus, baritone, plus an array of early instruments), a chorus (the N.Y. Motet Singers) and electronic music (from the Columbia/Princeton Electronic Music Studio), all put together in what was the then-new multi-track technology. Texts are by Steven Wade and John Ashbery.

It was Ilhan Mimaroglu, the legendary electronic-music composer, jazz producer and Atlantic Records guru, who asked Salzman to put together an album of his shorter works under the rubric of Wiretap. These ‘wiretaps’ or ‘braintaps’ in sound lead off with Helix, a Quog Music Theater festival performance from the famous WBAI Free Music Store. The title piece, Wiretap, comes from Salzman’s score for Daniel Nagrin’s anti-war dance epic, “The Peloponnesian War“. Queens Collage, an ‘academic festival overture’ and a souvenir of Salzman’s career at Queens College in New York, is made up of ‘found sound’ from an urban collage campus put together in cinéma verité style. Larynx Music, written in the 1960s for Cathy Berberian, was newly recorded at Atlantic by Elise Ross, one of Europe’s leading performers of new music, with composer/guitarist Stanley Silverman and Mimaroglu as producer.

More on this release including reviews and ordering information can be found at <http://www.laborrecords.com/lab7092.html>

Information on the previous Labor/Naxos release in this series, Civilization & Its Discontents (Michael Sahl & Eric Salzman) can be found at <http://www.laborrecords.com/lab7089.html>.

 

Date Posted // October 18, 2012
In Categories // Music Theater, News, Recordings, The Nude Paper Sermon, The Nude Paper Sermon, Wiretap, Wiretap