Theremin and theremists
Theremin and theremists. If God or Gods or Angels or Devils could play a musical instrument, this would be, with no doubts, Theremin. It’s magic. It’s a musical instrument that can’t be touched. Better: it’s touched with no touch. The Theremin player, or the theremist, looks like a maestro with no button, a commander of an invisible orchestra, inebriating the listener with ether. Theremin sounds like the wind coming inside through the window, like the hypnotic chant of a mermaid, like the invisible presence of a phantom. Theremin is an unprecedented Russian innovation. Artist manages sound without touching the instrument – with the help of hand movements in the air near the two antennas, it is the only tool of its kind. Theremin sounds in academic, jazz, rock and pop music, Soviet and foreign films. Outstanding personalities played the theremin – Vladimir Lenin, Charlie Chaplin, Albert Einstein. Today theremin was used by Sting, Jean-Michel Jarre, Rammstein, Led Zeppelin, Beatles, Pink Floyd, Portheshead, Sting, Сплин, БГ, БИ2.
Probably owner of an uncommon sensibility, Mr. Theremin was surrounded by the almost surreal sonorous beauty which came from such an annoying interference. In front of him, there were two oscillating metal antennas of high frequency where the electrical stream passed through.
In his trip through United States of America, it was offered to Léon Theremin a studio where he trained several musicians in order to take those new sounds to the audience. Everything looks fine until 1938: for some obscure reasons, Leon was obliged to return to USSR leaving behind the fame, the friends and the wife.
When you imagine Lenin playing this instrument, you can see him commanding his troops. Why? Lenin was a theremist. Lenin liked so much of that kind of instrument (which was taken as a bizarre thing then) that he ordered 600 samples for distribution through USSR and sent its inventor to take a walk through United States of America in order to announce the invention of the electronic music. It’s true. Theremin is the first musical instrument completely electronic, precursor of the electronic music.
Clara Rockmore was a Russian prodigious student of violin and loved classical music. At the age of five, she was already taken as an extraordinary musician, until the time that a problem in her hands took the violin away from her neck and she started to dedicate herself to the invisible strings of Theremin. As the favorite alumnus of the inventor of this new instrument, Clara quickly became the best theremist of the world and followed his master in the trip ordered by Lenin. In USA, she made several spectacles astonishing audiences with her unique method the “aerial finger”, playing the instrument with a no preceding precision.
Konstantin Kovalsky 1932, USSR – First professional thereminist in the world