Electronic Frequencies Theremin Special #1. With a selection of mostly original works for the theremin made by Dorit Chrysler, VFsix featuring Anna THEreminGIRL, Gilda Razani & Hans Wanning, The Inactivists, Amethyste, Trautonia Capra, Rob Schwimmer, Joaquín Medina Villena, Lydia Ayers, Lawrence P. Kaster, Gordon Charlton, Chris Conway, Marcel Wierckx and Carolina Eyck.
Starting this edition of Electronic Frequencies on the Concertzender, I’d like to dedicate my monthly hour of electronic music to the theremin. The electronic musical instrument invented around 1920 by Lev Sergeyevitch Termen in Saint Petersburg, Russia. Lev, or Leon Theremin as we anglicized him, was a physicist and musician with heart for invention. He developed many devices throughout his life, for a diversity of goals, ranging from art to the military. One of his most famous inventions is the musical instrument called the ‘theremin’. This instrument, which is played by careful manipulations of an electromagnetic field around two antennas. Distance to one upright antenna controls pitch, while distance to a horizontal loop controls volume. After the first generation of musicians that played the theremin, and composers that wrote original music for it in the 1930s, 40s and 50s, the theremin all but disappeared to the public ear in the 60s and 70s. From about 1983 onwards the interest in the theremin has slowly been growing again. Composers started writing music for it and there were musicians proficient enough to perform the pieces. After a documentary was made about Leon Theremin (Theremin, An electronic Odyssey, 1993), and a bit later the explosion of the internet, speeded things up a lot. My own story with the theremin started shortly after that, in 1997, when, in answer to the overwhelming amount of keyboards at the Music Technology department at the Utrecht School of Arts, I decided to order a theremin kit from Moog Music (then called Big Briar). After assembling my kit, even waiting for the paint to dry, I switched on my theremin for the first time and …. words still fail me to describe what happened inside me at that moment, but since then I have been living in the world that is the theremin. Sometimes fanatically searching for sounds and music of the theremin, traveling the world to meet other players and composers, sometimes just wandering around, getting lost in the amazing offerings of the last several years. Theremin enthusiasts now meet each-other during theremin festivals around the globe, where classical players and sound sculptors share their musics, and both experience that the theremin, easy to play and difficult to master, truly fits in the modern day music world, as the theremin is a musical instrument that is not only capable of, but also bridges the gap between, precise tonal control and sonic weirdness. On November 3rd 1993, Lev Sergeyevitch Termen died in his apartment in Moscow, on the night of the London premiere of ‘An Electronic Odyssey, but his invention lives on in the hearts and minds of many. On this first of hopefully many editions of the Electronic Frequencies Theremin Special at the Concertzender, I’d like to play a selection of mostly original works for the theremin. All pieces were send to me in response to a Call for Music on Facebook and Twitter. I’d like to extend the call for music to anyone that creates original music for/with the theremin. https://www.facebook.com/wilco.botermans Playlist Electronic Frequencies Theremin Special #1 01. Dorit Chrysler: ‘I Don’t Want To Set The World On Fire’ (The Ink Spots, arr. Dorit Chrysler). 02. VFsix featuring Anna THEreminGIRL: ‘Between Clouds’. 03. About Aphrodite: ‘Ein Schönverbundenes’ (Gilda Razani & Hans Wanning) theremin: Gilda Razani 04. The Inactivists: ‘Omnipotent (Reprise)’ – CD: Dreaded Concept Album, 2006. Theremin: Victoria Lundy. 05. Amethyste: ‘How Will You Remember Me?’ (demo). 06. Trautonia Capra: ‘Das Mittelblatt’. 07. Rob Schwimmer: ‘Waltz for Clara’ – CD: ‘Beyond the Sky’. Theremin & piano: Rob Schwimmer. 08. Joaquín Medina Villena: ‘Aethereus’. 09. Lydia Ayers: ‘Rock Art in a Dream World’ for theremin, digeridoo and recorded soundscape. Theremin by Lydia Kavina. 10. Lawrence P Kaster: ‘Little Night’. 11. Beat Frequency: ‘Lunar Maria’ – CD: ‘Profluence’. 12. Chris Conway: ‘Adagio Electric’ – CD ‘Adagios Electric’. 13. Marcel Wierckx: ‘Çela commenca sous les rires des enfants’. For theremin controlled computer. 14. Carolina Eyck: ‘Reja’.