The Nude Paper Sermon
- Part One 21:28
- Part Two 23:18
- Helix (1972) 19:49
- Wiretap (1968) 7:33
- Larynx Music (1966-67) 9:39
- Queens Collage (1968) 12:19
Eric Salzman / The Nude Paper Sermon & Wiretap
BRAINTAPS & A NUDE PAPER RENDEZVOUS
Labor reissues 5 seminal works by composer & music-theater wizard Eric Salzman
The Nude Paper Sermon & Wiretap
(Helix, Wiretap, Larynx Music & Queens Collage)
“…of its time and still amazingly fresh…like nothing else I’ve ever heard” is how William Gibson describes The Nude Paper Sermon in the current issue of Signal to Noise. “...[S]imple but touching”, “A wonderful piece” on “a wonderful record” is how Helix, Larynx Music and Wiretap are described by Sound Image-A Magazine of Aural and Visual Arts. These classic recordings of some of the most original and innovative works of the twentieth century have now been re-issued by Labor as a 2-CD boxed set.
All these pieces are dramatized, personal reports in musical form on the state of America and the American psyche in the Sixties and Seventies. The biggest of the five is a multi-media music-theater work with the striking title of The Nude Paper Sermon. It was commissioned for the Nonesuch Consort, an early-music ensemble of voices and Renaissance instruments (directed by Joshua Rifkin), to which is added an actor/preacher (Stacy Keach), a chorus (N.Y. Motet Singers) and electronic sounds (Columbia-Princeton Studio). This was one of the first works to be written for recordings, making innovative use of the then-new multi-track recording technique to create a multi-media/music-theater work in sound. This was also some of the first new music to be written for Renaissance instruments in half a millennium! The recording uses the illusion of depth produced by stereo to produce the effect of listening through the electronics to a mythical golden age. Close to the surface is the voice of Stacy Keach who plays a preacher, a politician, an evangelist, a new-age guru, an amalgamation of all those bloviators who use language to control others. The actor's text was created for the work by Steven Wade as a prose poem about contemporary life; the sung texts are John Ashbery's "Three Madrigals".
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.
PRESS QUOTES ABOUT THE NUDE PAPER SERMON AND WIRETAP
“[The Nude Paper Sermon] is both of its time and still amazingly fresh. There are portions that sound like György Ligeti’s music for 2001: A Space Odyssey. And there are moments that sound like free jazz. And there are moments that sound like nothing else I’ve ever heard.”
--William Gibson from “A Nude Paper Rendezvous: Electronic Psychedelic Nonesuch”, Signal to Noise #63, 2012.
“Eric Salzman in his The Nude Paper Sermon attempts to make a new style out of chaos…synthesizing something meaningful out of a brash eclecticism. While a Renaissance consort of voices and instruments keeps up a commentary on many kinds of new and old music usually distorted, but often mockingly lucid and sweet, an actor (Stacy Keach) declaims a collage of poems, speeches and found sounds, sometimes understandably but often not…the piece has a sustained power to comment on our convulsive time, for Salzman controls his textures and his mixtures of verbal and musical imagery quite deftly… in Salzman’s work there is…evidence of a wide-ranging mind at work, one that serves a tonic function when the arts are becoming increasingly mindless.”
--Donal Henahan, New York Times, 1970
"The simple but touching vocal parts [of Helix] borrow from madrigals and plainchant, to which Tony Elitcher's beautiful clarinet adds a nice counterpoint"… Larynx Music is a wonderful piece….[Wiretap is a] wonderful record.”
--Sound Image--A Magazine of Aural and Visual Arts 2010
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