Classical Reissue Reviews

HERBERT DEUTSCH: From Moog to Mac – var. performers – Ravello
Clara Rockmore, theremin – Music In and On the Air – Nadia Reisenberg, piano/ The Violincello Society/others – Romeo Records

Two interesting CDs on theremins and electronic music in general.

Published on September 22, 2013

HERBERT DEUTSCH: From Moog to Mac – var. performers – Ravello</br>Clara Rockmore, theremin – Music In and On the Air – Nadia Reisenberg, piano/ The Violincello Society/others – Romeo Records

HERBERT DEUTSCH: From Moog to Mac [TrackList follows] – var. performers – Ravello RR7846 enhanced CD [Distr. by Naxos] ****:

Clara Rockmore, theremin – Music In and On the Air [TrackList follows] – Nadia Reisenberg, piano/The Violincello Society/others – Romeo Records 7286 [Distr. by Albany] ****:

Composer Herbert A. Deutsch has been a composer, author, educator and music marketing consultant. He was chairman of the Hofstra University Music Department until 2001 and from 1979 thru 1983 directed marketing and sales at Moog Music, where he worked with Moog in putting together the first voltage-controlling synthesizer. He’s been very involved in electronic music and this CD is a sampling of ten of his works. Several have narration, some are songs with electronic accompaniment, and some involve the theremin. The note booklet has details on each one and the CD-ROM portion of the disc has videos, photos, other line notes and more.

TrackList:

  1. A Christmas Carol
  2. The Abomination
  3. Jazz Images, A Worksong & Blues
  4. A Little Night Music
  5. Prologue to King Richard III
  6. Sleight of Hand (Mister Magic Man)
  7. Abyss
  8. Fantasy on Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child
  9. & 10. 2 Songs with Words

We have published several reviews of previous theremin CDs: A pair on Bridge and Wergo, and one on Mode. We also reviewed a documentary film on the inventor Robert Moog, who started out making and selling his own theremin. Clara Rockmore is profiled in the Steve M. Martin documentary Theremin – An Electronic Odyssey.

Clara Rockmore was clearly the greatest-ever virtuoso of the theremin, which had been invented in the 1920s in Russia by Leon Theremin, and was popularized (sort of) in the U.S. in the 1930s by RCA Victor, who made a tubed model. There are 19 tracks on this CD, of which many consist of just commentary.  Most of them come from broadcasts on New York City’s WQXR and were recorded on open reel tape which was transferred to the master for this CD by Seth B. Winner Sound Studios.

Clara had retired from the concert stage but had impromptu gatherings at her 57th street apartment. In 1975 Robert Moog repaired her ailing theremin and then supervised the recording session that created the theremin albums on Delos and Bridge. Four years later came these broadcasts on WQXR. Some used the multiple cellos of the Violincello Society Inc.  The accompanying booklet has lots of details about Rockmore and the theremin. The music selections on the CD are:

TrackList: ST.-SAENS: The Swan; CASSADO: Requebros; RACHMANINOFF: O Cease Thy Singing, Maiden Pair; BACH: Concerto for 2 Violins in d: 2nd movt.; FRANCK: Sonata in A for Violin & Piano: 1st & 2nd movt.; BEETHOVEN selection; BACH: Air on the G String; VILLA-LOBOS: Bachianas Brasileiras No. 5: Aria

—John Sunier




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