“The Art Of The Theremin” by Clara Rockmore (Delos Records)
“It took a certain person named Bob Moog to get the current recording from me.” With these words ends the interview that Clara Rockmore granted to Bob Moog himself on the occasion of the publication of her first album, “Theremin” (now available on CD as “The Art of the Theremin”), produced by Moog himself and his wife Shirleigh in 1977. And in fact, strange as it may seem, in her almost forty-year career as a thereminist at that point, Clara Rockmore had never made a record. Records by Zenaide Hanenfeldt, Lennington Shewell, and, above all, Samuel Hoffman had been released. But the greatest virtuosa of the theremin, the person who for three plentiful decades had delighted theater audiences and had dropped the reservations of the most skeptical critics; the musician who had literally invented the theremin playing technique and had contributed to the development of the thereminvox itself through requests for improvements requested from its inventor, to elevate it from novelty to authentic concert instrument, had never appeared on record store shelves.
In addition to the low demand for theremin records, the reason is, however, to be attributed, at least in part, to Clara’s iron will not demean the theremin by submitting to compromises of any kind. The same reason that led her, in 1945, to decline Miklós Rózsa’s offer, to play the theremin part of Alfred Hitchcock’s Spellbound soundtrack, which was then entrusted to Samuel Hoffman, because, as she declared to Albert Glinsky, not having had a chance to hear Rózsa’s music in advance, “I thought that again it would be this scary people, ghosts coming. They used the theremin to scare people, for this woo, voodoo thing. It wasn’t my approach, so I thought, let someone else do it. I will not be part of it.”
We must therefore be grateful to Bob Moog, among other things, if today we are lucky enough to be able to hear the sublime interpretative technique of Clara Rockmore, accompanied on the piano by her sister Nadia Reisenberg, in this collection comprising pieces by Rachmaninoff, Stravinsky, Tchaikovsky, and many others.
It is a testimony capable of delighting the ears and the spirit of any music lover, as well as spurring every thereminist to the technical and expressive peak that Clara Rockmore has managed to reach.
- Vocalise (Rachmaninoff)
- Song Of Grusia (Rachmaninoff)
- The Swan (Saint-Saëns)
- Pantomime (De Falla)
- Hebrew Melody (Achron)
- Romance (Wieniawski)
- Berceuse (Stravinsky)
- Pièce En Forme De Habanera(Ravel)
- Berceuse (Tchaikovsky)
- Valse Sentimentale (Tchaikovsky)
- Sérénade Mélancolique (Tchaikovsky)
- Chant Du Ménestrel (Glazunov)