Mischa Tulin. Theremin
November 12, 2002
A flyer (the exact date of publication is unknown but it dates from the Thirties) promoting russian thereminist Mischa Tulin. Reprint courtesy of the Special Collections Department, University of Iowa Libraries. (V.S.)
CONCERT FESTIVAL ORCHESTRAS COLLEGES
Mischa Tulin, the celebrated artist, has introduced the marvel of musical instruments, the Theremin, with phenomenal success. Born in Russia, his talents were manifested at an early age and their recognition led to careful and intensive training and schooling at the Imperial Conservatory of Music in Petrograd under the personal guidance of Alexander Glazounov and afterwards with the late Busoni.
Prior to his debut as a Theremin artist, Mr. Tulin, upon his arrival to the United States, quickly gained a reputation as one of the promising young artists of the day, identifying himself as a brilliant pianist and composer. In 1924 Mr. Tulin won first prize from the Musical Society of America, this trophy being awarded for the finest composition submitted in competition held that year.
In 1930 Mr. Tulin, at the request of Professor Theremin, took up the study of the space-controlled Theremin and within a short time was acclaimed as the virtuoso of this instrument, receiving invitations to appear as soloist with some of the finest musical organizations in the country.
Indeed few musicians have so early in their careers received the tibutes of recognition that have been bestowed upon Mr. Tulin.
This brilliant musician possesses the unusual faculty of both tha plaintive and gay, having an intensive repertoire meeting the requirements of different audiences.
His dynamic personality, rich talents, and genuine artistry are gaining for him praise and recognition, as is manifested in the following comments and appreciations:
Boston. "Mischa Tulin electrifies capacity audience ... Receives ovation at Symphony Hall appearing as soloist with the Boston Symphony Orchestra (POP'S) under the direction of Arthur Fiedler." - Herald.
Boston. "Mr. Tulin's performance was the outstanding event of the evening. His intonation true, technique advanced and phrasing artisting." - Transcript.
Portland. "Mischa Tulin treated his earers to the playing of the Theremin (Newest Electrical instrument) ... All compositions selected by him for the program were accorded a treatment of surpassing beauty." - Express.
Springfield. "The performance on the Theremin given last night by the young Russian artist Mischa Tulin will undoubtedly be recorded as one of the outstanding events of the season." - Union.
New York. "Mr. Tulin's playing gave a valuable demonstration of what could be accomplished on the newest of musical instruments - the Theremin. His performance was remarkable and convincing of his high degree of interpretative ability, good taste and style sound musicianship, true pitch apart from considerations of luxuriance of tone." - Times.
New York. "Mr. Tulin's complete mastery of the Theremin instrument and exquisite playing will long linger in the memory of those who were fortunate to hear his performance." - Sun.
The Theremin is an instrument which produces musical sound by exclusively electrical means. It has no key-board. strings, reeds or other mechanical aids or sources of sound. It employs two metal bars as antennae, and a loud-speaker. One antenna - a straight, perpendicular bar, controls tone, or pitch - or, if you like, the "voice" of the Theremin. The other antenna, a looped horizontal bar, controls volume, or intensity of sound.
When any object, such as the human hand, is brought into the sensitive electric field surrounding the vertical antenna, the field is so affected that audio-frequencies (sounds) are produced. These are amplified through the loud-speaker. As the hand approaches the antenna, the pitch of the sounds becomes higher; as the hand is withdrawn, the pitch becomes lower.
The other antenna is also affected by the proxinlity or the hand. As the hand approaches it, the power of the Theremin's voice is lessened, in minute gradations down to the faintest whisper; as the hand is moved away from the antenna, power is increased, by the same delicate gradations, to an intensity exceeding that of the most powerful stringed instrument.
The Theremin is capable of the most exquisite beauty or tone ... and of tonal variety as well. In the lower range its tone partakes of the quality of the bassoon, string bass and other low-pitched instruments; further up the scale the tone is extraordinarily like that of the 'cello; still further, the quality of viola, violin and flute are closely approximated. Toward the upper end of the scale, the Theremin can, with an amazing verisimilitude, represent the soprano human voice; and it can suggest powerfully the ethereal tones of the violin's harmonics.
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