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Theremin

3.1 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews

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Audio CD, CD, June 22, 1999
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

As her hands dance around the instrument's antennas, Lydia Kavina proves the theremin is no mere producer of Hollywood sound effects. Russian theremin virtuoso Kavina presents the first release EVER dedicated solely to original compositions for the instrument - spanning the "golden age" of the theremin from its invention in the 1920s to contemporary works. One of the first attempts to unite music and scientific technology in the 20th century, the theremin is considered to be the ancestor of modern electronic musical instruments. Its evolution from scientific curiosity (discussed in scientific journals and manufactured by RCA) to virtuoso classical instrument (played by Clara Rockmore in Carnegie Hall) to "instrument of the future" (according to Cage, Varse, Grainger and others) to Hollywood sound effect (played in soundtracks to Spellbound, The Day the Earth Stood Still, The Lost Weekend, etc.) to rock-and-roll instrument (used by The Beach Boys, Led Zeppelin, Phish, Portishead and others) has been well documented. This disc is full of discoveries, including Martinu's Fantasia, and Percy Grainger's graphically notated Free Music #1 (1935) for 4 theremins, along with other "period" works by Schillinger (known for his writings on music and as a guru to composers from Gershwin to Earle Brown) and Isidor Achron (the accompanist to Heifetz). Modern works are represented by Kavina herself, Brazilian Jorge Antunes (with electronic tape) and Russian Vladimir Komarov, whose work also incorporates the inventor's voice and a rendition of Glinka's infamous The Lark, which Theremin had performed for Lenin to demonstrate the instrument. Lydia Kavina is the world's leading thereminist today. The granddaughter of Leon Theremin's first cousin, she was the inventor's last protŽgŽe. She began studying the instrument with him at the age of nine, and was concertizing by age fourteen. Since then, Kavina has given over 500 performances. She has also appeared in Howard Shore's soundtracks to eXistenZ and the Oscar-winning movie Ed Wood, and has performed in the Tom Waits/Robert Wilson collaborations Alice and The Black Rider. Kavina now serves on the lecture staff of The Glinka Museum and is affiliated with the Theremin Center, both in Moscow.

Amazon.com

The theremin may be one of the oddest instruments ever invented: the electronic device's high-pitched sound resembles no other--and you never even touch it to play it. It's become familiar from that novel Beach Boys solo on "Good Vibrations" and the occasional sci-fi score sound bite, but it's seldom thought of as the serious instrument its inventor Leon Theremin wanted it to be. This recording, like the must-have Clara Rockmore disc, The Art of the Theremin, attempts to change that. Lydia Kavina might very well be the best thereminist playing today; she's the inventor's last protégée (as well as being the granddaughter of his cousin) and her range on the instrument is unparalleled. Here, she tackles the body of work made specifically for the instrument from the likes of Joseph Schillinger, Bohuslav Martinu, Percy Grainger, Isidor Achron, and a handful of contemporary composers. Grainger's "Free Music #1" for four theremins eerily defies the bounds of written composition (Kavina plays all four theremin roles); Kavina's own Suite is an impressive showpiece of the instrument's range; and Vladimir Komarov's tape-and-theremin piece "Voice of Theremin" is built entirely of passages from the instrument and the voice of Theremin himself, all processed through a computer with stunning results. Martinu's Fantasia for Theremin, Oboe, Piano, and Strings is the disc's real charm: a 14-minute composition with plenty of oboe-theremin interplay and lovely string passages from the Portland String Quartet. For the classical fan who has everything, this disc may be the perfect gift. --Jason Verlinde


Product details

  • Performer: Joshua Pierce, Elizabeth Parcells, Carol Eaton Elowe, Kristen Fox, Joshua Pierce, et al.
  • Composer: Joseph Schillinger, Friedrich Wilckens, Percy Grainger, Bohuslav Martinu, Isidor Achron, et al.
  • Audio CD (June 22, 1999)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: CD
  • Label: Mode
  • ASIN: B00000J8RP
  • Average Customer Review: 3.1 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #284,631 in CDs & Vinyl (See Top 100 in CDs & Vinyl)
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13 customer reviews

3.1 out of 5 stars

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