Eric Salzman: Composer, Author, Music Theater Innovator


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

Review of Salzman’s Jukebox in the Tavern of Love

An extended review by Randy Woolf of the Eric Salzman and Valerie Vasilevski Jukebox in the Tavern of Love (commissioned and performed by the Western Wind Vocal Ensemble) is in the current issue of the New Music Connoisseur.

Date Posted // January 03, 2010
In Categories // Jukebox in the Tavern of Love, News, Reviews, Works and Productions

Review of the New York Premiere of Salzman’s Brecht Suite

The New York premiere of Salzman’s Brecht Suite—music from the Theatre du Trident French-language production of the Santa Barbara version of Brecht’s La Bonne Ame de Setchouan—had its New York premiere on December 2, 3 and 4, 2009, at the cell theatre, produced by the cell with the Center for Contemporary Opera (CCO). The performers were mezzo Laila Salins, virtuoso accordionist Bill Schimmel, Machiko Ozawa and Marc Levine, violins, and Leo Grinhauz, cello.

Schimmel also played Salzman’s Accord: Solo for Schimmel. Other works on the program included Schimmel’s version of the Poet & Peasant Overture, a set of Latvian songs performed by Ms. Salins (who is Latvian-American), and a rousing set of tangos by Osvaldo Pugliese as arranged by Schimmel. Harry Rolnick (of had this to say:

“Mr. Salzman redeemed himself triplefold with the music for Brecht’s “Good Woman of Sichuan.” Mr. Salzman, as critic, musicologist and composer, is virtually synonymous with “music theater,” and when he found Brecht’s second working of the drama in Los Angeles, he was ecstatic. No music had been written for it (Kurt Weill was on the outs with Brecht), so Mr. Salzman took it in his own hands, resulting in a Quebec performance. The five excerpts here were splendid, with a typical Salzman surprise. The middle three songs did have that biting Weill-type melody. Ms. Salins didn’t have to do a Lotte Lenya: her own drama was fascinating enough. But the first purely instrumental work was eerily different. It had the resonance of 18th Century modal American church music, or like Virgil Thomson’s film music of America. What was it doing here? Not until the final song did we find out. The same music was used as background for a Weill-like ersatz anthem, performed beautifully by all five musicians.”

The entire program was recorded and should be available on a CCO CD and excerpts will be posted on YouTube. There are also plans for the program to tour abroad.

Date Posted // December 09, 2009
In Categories // Brecht Suite, News, Reviews, Works and Productions

Review of the October Performance of Salzman’s Five Dances

The very successful performance of the Five Dances on October 30th at Bard was described by the John Cage Trust Blog as follows:

“Given the paucity of arrangements in his own catalog, one might wonder what Cage would think of the two works that make use of his works that were featured at last month’s John Cage at Bard College Symposium. Of all of the pieces included in the two evening programs at the Fisher Center for the Performing Arts on October 30 and 31, these little-known arrangements were clear audience favorites. The first, Eric Salzman’s Five Dances (1996-97), is an arrangement for string quartet of five works by Cage originally composed for prepared piano: Our Spring Will Come (1943), Dream (1948), Totem Ancestor (1943), In a Landscape (1948), and A Room (1943). While long available from C.F. Peters as EP 67725, the work is rarely performed. Here’s the third movement from the feisty performance by four of Bard College’s finest Conservatory musicians—Fanghue He, Yue Sun, Leah Gastler, and Laura Hendrickson.”

Date Posted // November 03, 2009
In Categories // Five Dances for String Quartet, News, Reviews, Works and Productions