Leon-Theremin

LÉON THEREMIN.

A “Persons Of Interest” drawing. You can get your own here, as my schedule allows, and see all the ones thus far here. Short version is I’ll draw any famous/widely recognizable figure, fictional or historical or just popular, just once.

FYI, I’m slowly catching up on these, sorry for those still waiting! I’ve been working on an involved commercial gig and will be getting back (I actually did this one a week ago and forgot!) super soon I hope. Sorry and thanks for your patience!

Clara Rock­more (March 9, 1911 – May 10, 1998) was a pio­neer in elec­tronic music. Her artistry and tech­nique on the theremin put her in the same league as some of the other leg­endary women instru­men­tal­ists of 20th cen­tury — musi­cians like pianist Dame Myra Hess, the great Pol­ish harp­si­chordist Wanda Landowska.

From a very early age, Clara was an accom­plished young vio­lin­ist but as it turned out, she even­tu­ally had to aban­don the instru­ment because of chronic phys­i­cal dif­fi­cul­ties due to child­hood mal­nu­tri­tion and she took up the theremin. Later in her life she said that Leon Theremin saved her “musi­cal san­ity” by intro­duc­ing her to the theremin. She had extremely pre­cise, rapid con­trol of her move­ments, impor­tant in play­ing an instru­ment that depends on the performer’s motion and prox­im­ity rather than touch. She also had the advan­tage of work­ing directly with Léon Theremin from the early days of the instrument’s com­mer­cial devel­op­ment in the United States.

It is easy to under­stand why Leon Theremin, the inven­tor of the instru­ment that bears his name, was deeply in love with Clara. Apart from being bril­liantly tal­ented as a musi­cian and therem­i­nist, she was strik­ingly beautiful.

Clara Rock­more died in the spring of 1998 leav­ing a small but impor­tant legacy of her record­ings which include The Art of Theremin (pro­duced by Robert Moog in 1977) and a stun­ning, live, 1945 per­for­mance of the Con­certo for Theremin and Orches­tra by the Amer­i­can com­poser Anis Fulei­han (with the orches­tra under the direc­tion of the great Leopold Stokowski). Both these record­ings have been reis­sued on CD.

The rhythmicon, essentially the world’s first drum machine, built by Leon Theremin in the 1930s at the request and according to the concept of Henry Cowell. The rhythmicon, or “polyrhythmophone,” was designed to facilitate the execution of complex polyrhythms impossible for a single performer using conventional means. It works by projecting light onto photoreceptors; the rhythms are achieved by having the light pass through holes on discs which rotate at controlled speeds.

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Nipsynips just helped me realize maybe why I love the Theremin so much

-it kind of sounds like Vitas.

(also it’s russian and sciency and musical)

THE THEREMIN. IT IS AWESOME. PUT IT IN YOUR LIFE.

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What is the only musical instrument you can play without touching it? Nope – guess again – it’s the theremin! Leon Theremin was a Russian engineer who invented this synthesizer-like phenomenon that was first employed as a serious classical instrument in the 1930’s. After Leon was whisked to Siberia by the KGB, the theremin (to his dismay) was used as a sound effects box for horror and science fiction films like “Forbidden Planet.” It was revived in the 1970’s by rock groups like the Beach Boys (you know that sound featured in “Good Vibrations”) and Led Zeppelin (“The Song Remains the Same”). Today, innovative musicians around the world play the theremin to produce modern, unique sound.

Ever the trailblazer, Lucie Rosen was one of the first musicians to master the theremin and played it for large audiences on several occasions. Her theremin is on display at Caramoor’s Rosen House.