Music Reviews : Salvatore Martirano at Dominguez Hills


Many of the electronic music pioneers of yesterday have turned to today’s MIDI system of connecting various sound sources, but few have adapted new ideas for it. The recent music of Salvatore Martirano tiptoes towards the new developments, but is firmly grounded in his techniques and ideas of the past.

Tuesday night in the Arts and Humanities building at Cal State Dominguez Hills, Martirano presented four of his works to an appreciative audience of students and faculty. Informally explaining each piece from the stage, he sat before and operated his setup dubbed “the yahaSALmaMAC MIDI orchestra.”

In “SAMPLER: Everything Goes When the Whistle Blows,” Martirano’s wife, Dorothy, performed adroitly on the Zeta violin, a MIDI instrument, while the computer imitated atonal orchestral passages and a jazz combo. The overall effect was similar to an eclectic violin and tape piece, successfully projecting Martirano’s wry satire and propensity for quoting.


“Phleu” for amplified flute and synthetic orchestra was laden with prodigious flute writing, but found less time to be clever or humorous. Flutist John Fonville fought through the rapid effects and pounding rhythms, tentatively aligned with the more present, dense computer sounds.

“L’s.G.A.,” a famous 1960s psychedelic mixed-media collaboration--Martirano, film maker Ronald Nameth and poet M.C. Holloway--was presented, but in lieu of the original version using three movie projectors with sound track, three video machines were used. The updated version was both politically and technologically timely.

Closing the program was the premiere of the meandering “Four not TWO,” in which both the Martiranos freely improvised, throwing in bebop jazz licks and atonal flurries, creating mud pies of electronic sounds.