B12 Solipsism

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The Theremin Comes Into Its Own

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For today’s dosage of theremin news, comes this report about the New York Theremin Society. Aunt P and I should go…

Clara Rockmore
Clara Rockmore

Since 1928, when the Russian Léon Theremin received a U.S. patent for an apparatus “embodying an electrical vibrating system,” the theremin, his electronic instrument that’s played without being touched, has become associated in film soundtracks with arrivals from outer space or hair-tugging psychotics. In rock and pop, the theremin may add a touch of the avant-garde. To the inventor Robert Moog, the instrument is where electronic music began.

With virtuosity and no small application of wit, the New York Theremin Society seeks to elevate the instrument to the status its members believe it deserves. At a show at Joe’s Pub in mid-December, five thereminists performed a range of material—including ambient and techno music, classical compositions by Alexander Scriabin and Richard Wagner, and pop by the Beatles, Enya, and Dorothy Fields and Jerome Kern. During the concert, the instrument’s bizarre nature was often secondary to its beauty and versatility.

At the Joe’s Pub concert, Ms. Chrysler and Mr. Schwimmer performed two songs together, a vampy cocktail number and a lovely version of the Beatles’ “If I Fell.” On her own, Ms. Chrysler sang and played over electronic beats, coming across as a futuristic Lotte Lenya as well as a disciplined technician and superb musician. Mr. Schwimmer punctuated his performance with glib commentary, but his moving reading of Wagner’s “Träume” to a prerecorded solo piano suggested a reassessment of the instrument’s potential. Others excelled as well: Over electronic beats by her musical partner Tigerforest, Améthyste sang and played pleasing voicelike lines on the theremin, bending notes with care. Cornelius Loy gave the evening’s most melodramatic, and ultimately heartening, performance, in which he coaxed both melodic and violent sounds out of his theremin, played over big, textured electronic tracks. Mr. Loy, who was dressed in black leather, including gloves, created with his music a sense of chaos and domination, of a somber mood exploded by rage.

By its end, the evening proved what Ms. Chrysler had claimed over lunch: “A theremin is a cool contemporary instrument. It’s not only retro and classical; it’s cool and now.”

(click here to continue reading The Theremin Comes Into Its Own | By Jim Fusilli – WSJ.com.)

There are some YouTube videos on the Joe’s Pub site for this concert, which is running until January 4th…Theremin 2

theremin-2 via 

Written by Seth Anderson

January 3rd, 2013 at 10:09 am

Posted in Music

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