"Music in and On the Air"

Posted: 1/21/2012 11:27:11 PM
theremin137

From: Los Angeles

Joined: 10/6/2007

(The following was emailed to Robert and Steve Sherman and CCd to Thereminworld)

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Hello gentlemen,

The new CD, "Music In and On the Air," arrived Friday. I have been wanting all weekend to stop everything to sit down and listen to it with undivided attention but couldn't do so until this afternoon.

I literally sat here transfixed. Then I listened to it again, and it's playing a third time as I am writing this email to you.

Oh my goodness, what a priceless gem is this recording! It's truly wonderful, as you pointed out toward the end of the broadcast, to hear Clara playing in a live performance. It's one thing to hear her on recordings, but quite another to hear her live. It's pure musical magic.

Her virtuoso musicality and refined musicianship shine on this CD, and it's just an absolute thrill to hear her playing in ensemble with the string players. The Bach "Air on a G String" and the Villa-Lobos "Bachianas Brasileiras" were especially thrilling and inspiring.

And, of course, it is wonderful to hear her playing with Nadia Reisenberg. Their rendition of Cassado's "Requiebros" is nothing short of stunning. I've heard a couple different recordings of them playing this, which are all beyond reproach, but in this recording they are at their finest with an absolutely spine-tingling performance.

You wrote in the liner notes, "If only we could locate somebody who recorded her playing of Ernest Bloch's 'Schelomo' with the Philadelphia Orchestra..." I'll add to that my wish, "If only we could locate somebody who recorded her playing of the Franck Violin Sonata" -- "All four movements!" as she used to exclaim.

Thank you SO MUCH for making this recording possible. I certainly shall cherish it.

I hope all is well,

~
CRL

Posted: 1/25/2012 11:07:14 PM
omhoge

From: New York, NY

Joined: 2/13/2005

Charles, thanks for posting this.  Like I said in the news post this album blew me away. 

Do you know anything about the theremin technician she mentions?

 

Posted: 1/26/2012 12:22:39 AM
coalport

From: Canada

Joined: 8/1/2008

Are you talking about the late Mike Jasen?

Posted: 1/26/2012 4:57:29 PM
Jason

From: Sammamish, Washington

Joined: 2/13/2005

I particularly loved the theremin/violin combination on track 6, O Cease They Singing, Maiden Fair Opt. 4, No. 4.  I could almost imagine two characters dancing with each other as the song played.  I think I listened to it 20 times in a row this morning on repeat play. 

Posted: 1/26/2012 5:29:30 PM
theremin137

From: Los Angeles

Joined: 10/6/2007

I'm surprised and perplexed at the lack of buzz and chatter about this CD! If people aren't buying it all I can say is, they really don't know what they're missing. I'm with Jason here -- some of the tracks are so incredibly musical and beguiling that they demand multiple replays.

Listeners have an opportunity to hear on this recording the greatest thereminist of all time play an instrument that very few people have succeeded in making music on, let alone master it to the level of utter virtuosity.

Clara's skill goes far beyond just playing the notes correctly (something few thereminists can honestly claim the ability to do -- including me). In her hands, or, well, er, not in her hands, the theremin becomes an extension of her musical soul and takes on the character and natural beauty of the finest acoustic instrument. That's no short order on any electronic instrument, let alone the theremin.

This recording also shows how comfortably and naturally Clara finds a very rightful place in ensembles of other virtuoso musicians, without any pretense or grandiosity and certainly without apology. She easily becomes as one with the other musicians and makes music. We've heard her reach this plateau with her sister Nadia Reisnberg. But to listen to her in ensembles with string players really is nothing short of breathtaking and, yes, spellbinding. More than once as I listened to this recording I felt the hairs on the back of my neck standing at salute to Clara's glorious music.

Folks, you really MUST have this recording! I believe it will open your ears even further and you'll not only come to a greater understanding of Clara Rockmore's breathtaking musicianship but also a greater comprehension of the real potential of "that crazy instrument."

 

Posted: 1/26/2012 5:50:20 PM
Jason

From: Sammamish, Washington

Joined: 2/13/2005

@coalport, Yes, she refers to Mike Jasen as the "brilliant young engineer" who restored her theremin and kept it in working order.  She credits Bob Moog for pulling her out of her "self-imposed retirement" and producing The Art of the Theremin.

Posted: 1/27/2012 12:38:31 AM
coalport

From: Canada

Joined: 8/1/2008

There is a general misconception that Robert Moog restored Clara Rockmore's custom theremin. This is not entirely true. It was Mike Jasen who restored it. Bob Moog tinkered with it a bit but he did not do the main restoration work on it, nor did he maintain it. 

You may recall seeing Mike Jasen in ELECTRONIC ODYESSEY. He was the man who appeared on stage with Clara during the rehearsal for the Nadia Reisenberg memorial concert at the beginning of the film. He is the one who set up Clara's theremin and when she comes on stage she says to Mike, "Oh, you only tuned it that way........". 

Mike died a few years ago.

It was, however, Bob Moog who coaxed Clara out of retirement and who produced her DELOS album, The Art Of The Theremin in the mid 1970's.

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