By the way, another Theremin record is Lew Davies "Strange Interlude" on Command. The Theremin is
one of several early electronic instruments Lew weaved into his arrangements. If I remember the
liner notes correctly, Walter Sear played the Theremin.
-- Tom Fine
----- Original Message -----
From: "Rod Stephens" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Saturday, December 30, 2006 7:09 PM
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Clara Rockmore Theremin recordings
> You guys really make us work sometimes, and I just had to dig into my old 45s to come up with
> three disks from a vintage ('50s) Capitol album that had a seminude girl on the cover (which I
> can't find right now). It was entitled "Music for Peace of Mind" (aka theremin music).
> The artists are Dr. Samuel J. Hoffman and Billy May and his orchestra. These are the six
> This Room is My Castle of Quiet
> The Darkness Gives Me You Again
> Remembering Your Lips
> My Troubles Float Away Like Fallen Leaves
> Your Soft Hand on My Brow
> I Dream of a Past Love
> It was my first exposure to the theremin aside from its use in Miklos Rósza's Oscar winning score
> of Hitchcock's "Spellbound".
> Ah, youth!
> I'm sure someone else will come up with more information on Dr. Hoffman and the album.
> Rod Stephens
> Tom Fine wrote:
>> Hi Bret:
>> Thanks for all the great information. I just ordered a copy of the Bridge CD. I definitely noted
>> the dull sound on the Delos CD and just figured, well, that was what the budget allowed as far as
>> recording quality. Great to know it was actually better fidelity.
>> Also good to hear the new Moog instruments are so good. I've been considering one for years but
>> know full well that to be a real musician on one of these things, you need to practice as hard or
>> harder than any other instrument and the time is unlikely available to me.
>> Happy New Year and thanks again for the good tip.
>> -- Tom Fine
>> ----- Original Message ----- From: "Bret" <[log in to unmask]>
>> To: <[log in to unmask]>
>> Sent: Friday, December 29, 2006 7:56 PM
>> Subject: [ARSCLIST] Clara Rockmore Theremin recordings
>>> There is a new cd release of Clara Rockmore and Nadia Reisenberg on
>>> Bridge Records:
>>> This material that was recorded on the same days in July 1975 as the
>>> Delos release, Art of Theremin.
>>> I much prefer the sound of the Bridge 'Lost' recording, it is alive. I
>>> always thought the Delos cd recording had a dull, flat quality,
>>> compressed sounding. The high frequencies sound heavily filtered. The
>>> low end has no power. I was told by a theremin expert that the LP
>>> release of 'Art' sounds much more natural, but I don't have an lp copy
>>> to compare.
>>> Since the original multitrack recordings were only recently found in
>>> Moog's basement, I doubt that the Delos cd (released in 1987) was made
>>> from the original multitrack tapes.
>>> There are also occasional ticks and pops on the Delos cd of 'Art',
>>> which makes me wonder if they used an LP as the source for the cd
>>> release. I don't know.
>>> While there are the occasional noise reduction artifacts noticeable on
>>> the Bridge 'Lost' recording, the performances of Clara and Nadia, and
>>> the lively sound of the Theremin, and Piano are truly magnificent, and
>>> this restoration presents this in a convincing and engaging manner. I
>>> love it.
>>> I highly recommend the 'Lost' cd if you liked 'Art' in the slightest
>>> Regarding modern theremin sounds compared to Clara's theremin sound, no
>>> one will ever make a theremin sound like Clara Rockmore, no matter what
>>> theremin they play, including hers. Clara said that herself.
>>> The sound of a given theremin depends not only the harmonic balance of
>>> the instrument and amplifier and loudspeaker, but who is playing it,
>>> even more so. I collect theremins, and theremin recordings, and am
>>> learning to play.
>>> I have 2 vacuum tube theremins (one is an RCA AR1264), and 2 solid
>>> state theremins. They all sound different, but with a bit of
>>> adjustment (eq, waveshape, compression, distortion, etc) can sound very
>>> A modern Moog Etherwave Pro is a tremendous instrument, and if Bob Moog
>>> was alive today he would tell you it is far better instrument than any
>>> of this tube theremins that he built and sold since the 1950's. In
>>> fact he told me that years ago when I asked him about one of his
>>> vintage vacuum tube moog theremins I was considering purchasing. The
>>> EPro can make many different sounds with adjustable waveshape and
>>> filtering controls.
>>> The discontinued Moog Ethervox is also a marvelous instrument. More
>>> linear in play than the RCA, and the tone can be made to sound much
>>> like the RCA and other sounds.
>>> The original RCA had only 1 sound. But that one sound will change as
>>> vacuum tubes are swapped in, or certain resistor values are changed in
>>> the circuit.
>>> Clara's custom Termen theremin had the ability to adjust the timbre,
>>> but she always had it set only 1 way. 'That' magical sound. Her
>>> theremin had been silent for years when Bob Moog and Mike Jason helped
>>> by bringing it back to life, and getting 'that' sound for Clara.
>>> Bob Moog from the liner notes of 'lost'
>>> "The high point of my experience with Clara came when she called me
>>> because her instrument had become completely unreliable. Building
>>> theremins had been a hobby of mine for thirty or forty years, then it
>>> became a business, so naturally I was very curious to see what was
>>> inside hers that could produce such a beautiful sound. Electronics age
>>> faster than people do, and Clara's theremin, which must have been fifty
>>> years old by then, was filled with broken connections, parts that were
>>> beginning to fail, others that had shorted out. I replaced various
>>> solders and connectors, and then, with Mike Jason, Clara's own
>>> technician, tried to overhaul the instrument to make it work as much
>>> like the original as possible. We started Friday night, worked all day
>>> Saturday, and then put everything back together Sunday morning. Clara
>>> tried it out, said "No, it doesn't sound just right." The trouble was
>>> we didn't know exactly what 'just right' meant, but we fiddled with the
>>> adjustments for half an hour or so. Clara tried it once again and said,
>>> "No. Closer, but not close enough." So once again Mike and I worked and
>>> when she tried it again she didn't stop. She started playing SUMMERTIME
>>> and went right through to the end, and when she turned around she had
>>> tears in her eyes. And through her tears she said, 'I thought I would
>>> never play this instrument again.' "
>>> Bob Moog did more than anyone else to make theremin a popular
>>> instrument today, a precise instrument and not just a toy sound maker.
>>> He commissioned the recordings that we have now on Delos and Bridge,
>>> and he never made a penny on them. Without them, we would only have
>>> the Fuleihan recording of Clara. We also have the DVD of Clara and
>>> Nadia, 'The Greatest Theremin Virtuoso' thanks to Moog, so we actually
>>> get to see how she performs her magic.
>>> I think the sounds that most people associate with the theremin are
>>> either the scifi and scary Hollywood sound of Dr. Hoffman, due to his
>>> nervous vibrato and chicken pecking playing style, with much glissando,
>>> and the singing lady sound associated with Clara Rockmore and her
>>> aerial fingering, and articulated notes that sing and breathe.
>>> She was a violin virtuoso since she was 4 years old, so her intonation,
>>> and ability to make an instrument sing and breathe were already there
>>> before she ever came near a theremin. She had music in her soul.
>>> Clara and Nadia had played together since they were small children,
>>> Clara learned to read music at age 3. Nadia is one of the finest
>>> pianist that has ever lived, and teacher to many of the finest living
>>> pianists. Clara and Nadia played as ONE.
>>> Sorry I rambled. Theremin recordings are actually what brought me to
>>> audio restoration many years ago.
>>> I happen to know that there is a precision thereminist on this list.
>>> He is the one who introduced me to ARSC. I'll leave it to him to speak
>>> up if he wants.
>>> Bret Moreland
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