Eric Salzman – Wiretap

Eric Salzman - Wiretap LP front cover
Eric Salzman - Wiretap LP back cover
Eric Salzman - Wiretap LP side 1

Among many other skills as a writer, teacher and music producer, US composer Eric Salzman, born 1933, has always been interested in music compositions including stage performance, actors and vocal acrobatics.  Salzman’s 1st LP, The Nude Paper Sermon, published 1969 by Nonesuch, already included an actor. In 1970, Salzman created the QUOG Music Theatre company to perform his work and that of other composers in search of actors able to perform music, and musicians able to perform as actors.

♫ Released by Finnadar in 1974, Wiretap was Salzman’s 2nd LP and includes works from the 1960s and the ’70s. Helix, written for QUOG in the early 1970s, is a chamber piece for 3 singers, clarinet and guitar. The simple but touching vocal parts borrow from madrigal and plainchant, to which Tony Elitcher’s beautiful clarinet adds a nice counterpoint. The singers also use a multitude of small bells they constantly agitate near the end of the piece, which is rather quiet all the long. Wiretap is an electroacoustic montage based on Daniel Nagrin’s obscure utterings, yaps and moans. It does sound at times like the beginning of 2001: A Space Odyssey – minus the Richard Strauss tone poem, but is also close to Henri Chopin’s sound poetry. Larynx Music is a wonderful piece for soprano, guitar and 4-channel tape, with a certain variety throughout, thanks to 3 distinct sections: 1) syllabic phonemes and onomatopoeias with sparse guitar accompaniment, 2) phonemes with music concrète sounds, 3) wordless ballad with more musique concrète sounds. As the title implies, Queens Collage is a collage of sounds from one of Queens College’s music festivals, where Salzman was a teacher between 1966–8. The piece is based on rehearsal recordings, interviews of students and attendees alike, sounds and noises from the whereabouts, etc. The source recordings are submitted to various studio treatments and sound processing, and then assembled into an environmental soundscape. The record is produced with Ilhan Mimaroglu.

01 Helix (19:35)
02 Wiretap (7:37)
03 Larynx Music (9:42)
04 Queens Collage (12:15)

Total time 49:08
LP released by Finnadar, N.Y.C., 1974


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2 Responses to “Eric Salzman – Wiretap”

  1. 1 Joaquín Mendoza Sebastián February 22, 2011 at 4:56 am

    Wonderful record! I loved ‘Larynx Music’…lately I’ve had a vocal kick…two weeks ago I introduced my students to Berio’s ‘Epifanie’ and the marvelous voice of Cathy Berberian.

    (off topic)Are there any other cuban records in the works?(off topic)



  2. 2 continuo February 22, 2011 at 7:46 am

    Hi, Joaquín. I also hear many European references in this LP, including Dubravko Detoni and Mauricio Kagel.
    Yes, indeed, there’s another batch of Cuban LPs scheduled on the blog, starting in one month or so, plus other South American contemporary music composers as well.
    Thanks for your comment.

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