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Lydia Kavina: The Theremin Yesterday And Today

Theremin Virtuosa Lydia Kavina in Chile

Lydia Kavina is one of the greatest thereminists of all time. The last protégé of Léon Theremin, she started studying the theremin at the age of nine. She played a fundamental role in the so-called “renaissance of the theremin,” performing all over the world, making recordings, participating in film soundtracks, writing original music for theremin, and teaching the instrument to new generations of thereminists. I had the pleasure of exchanging a few words with her.

Zenaide Hanenfeldt: The Scion of Imperial Russia That Became a Theremin Diva

Thereminist Zenaide Hanenfeldt and Leon Theremin.

Zenaide Hanenfeldt was one of Leon Theremin’s first associates in the United States. She played a leading role, from 1929 to 1934, in the American adventure of Leon Theremin, appearing in some of the most important theremin events of the period and experiencing a brief period of intense and ephemeral celebrity as a theremin diva. Later, she almost disappeared into oblivion, confined to stingy annotations in the history of the theremin. Let’s find out a little more about her.

Love. Your Spell Is Everywhere

Zenaide Hanenfeldt
Love. Your Spell Is Everywhere
Zenaide HanenfeldtLove. Your Spell Is Everywhere
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Side B of 22296 Victor record: “Love. Your Spell Is Everywhere”, performed by the Victor Salon Orchestra featuring Zenaide Hanenfeldt at the Victor Theremin.

I’m a Dreamer. Aren’t We All?

Zenaide Hanenfeldt
I’m a Dreamer. Aren’t We All?
Zenaide HanenfeldtI’m a Dreamer. Aren’t We All?
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Side A of 22296 Victor record: “I’m a Dreamer. Aren’t We All?”, performed by the Victor Salon Orchestra featuring Zenaide Hanenfeldt at the Victor Theremin.

Bohuslav Martinů and Lucie Rosen: the Path to Fantasia for Theremin

Bohuslav Martinů and Lucie Rosen in New York.

Although Czech composer Bohuslav Martinů does not enjoy the same fame as other composers of the same period, he certainly has a prominent place in twentieth-century music. He is also well known by theremin enthusiasts thanks to Fantasia for theremin, oboe, piano, and string quartet, the composition commissioned to him in 1944 by Lucie Bigelow Rosen. Let’s try to understand a little more about him and follow the path that led him from a Moravian village to Manhattan, where the fortuitous meeting took place.

Fantasia for Theremin, Oboe, Piano, and String Quartet

Lydia Kavina
Fantasia for Theremin, Oboe, Piano, and String Quartet
Lydia KavinaFantasia for Theremin, Oboe, Piano, and String Quartet
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“Fantasia for theremin, oboe, piano, and string quartet” by Bohuslav Martinů taken from the unpublished VHS cassette by Lydia Kavina “Concerto per Theremin. Live in Italy” (2000).

Theremin – Lydia Kavina
Violin – Roberto Mazzola*
Violin – Angela Ferrando*
Viola – Alessandro Ghè*
Cello – Giulio Glavina*
Oboe – Stefania Tedesco
Piano – Mauro Cavalieri D’Oro
* Columbus Orchestra (Italy)

Lydia Kavina’s Theremin made by Anthony J. Henk (U.K.)

Recorded live in Colletta di Castelbianco (SV), Italy, in 1998.

Solo from RocketShip X-M

Samuel Hoffman
Solo from RocketShip X-M
Samuel HoffmanSolo from RocketShip X-M
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Theremin solo by Samuel Hoffman from the soundtrack of “Rocketship X-M” (1950.)