Advertisement
YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

MUSIC REVIEWS : Martirano Works at Barnsdall Park

April 12, 1993|TIMOTHY MANGAN

A concert devoted to the recent electro-acoustic efforts of American composer Salvatore Martirano--Saturday night in the Gallery Theater of Barnsdall Art Park--raised some troubling questions.

Chief among them was, who (or what) is in charge here, the technology or the man? Normally, such a question would be unimportant, if the results were compelling. But the music presented in this event, part of the CalArts Spring Music Festival, seemed little more than musical doodling.

Such was the case in the work that concluded the concert, called either "Four Not Two" or "Sound and Logic," depending on which part of the program booklet you believed.

With the 66-year-old composer seated at something he calls the yahaSALmaMAC MIDI orchestra (simply put: a keyboard hooked up through a computer) and Dorothy Martirano on the zeta violin (also wired), the work started nonchalantly with some introductory noodles, then halted a couple minutes later. Wiring problems.

Picking up where the players left off, this scenario repeated itself. Finally under way for good, the two Martiranos improvised for 20 more minutes, the computer program variously manipulating their ad-libs. The sounds were impressive; the ideas were not.

When the composer ended the work with a single, low quarter-note--an homage to the Sousa stinger?--it seemed the only way to quiet the stream-of-consciousness cacophony.

"Sampler: Everything Goes When the Whistle Blows" and "UIUS & Jest Fa'laffs" paired amplified, non-computer manipulated instruments with the MIDI orchestra (on tape) to similar effect. In both, the meandering, frenetic musical discourse appeared to be a direct result of the boundless sound resources--a case of the technological dog walking the man.

Advertisement
Los Angeles Times Articles
|
|
|