Saturday, July 26, 2008


I find this video of Clara Rockmore so haunting and magical, and it's not your typical example of a theremin merely used to make 'spooky' scifi sound effects. Much thanks to Mary for sending me the link.


Ea-M. said...

I can only recommend this film second hand, since i couldn't make it to the screening, but friends i have, that was there was very taken with it.

C+P from the program.
AN ELECTRONIC ODYSSEY: This documentary, explores the strange life and times of Russian émigré Leonard Theremin whose electronic musical instrument took the world by storm in the 1920s and '30s. He lived a charmed life at that point, successful in his chosen field, married to a beautiful American dancer and moving among New York's social elite. And then suddenly in 1938 he mysteriously vanished, not to be seen again for over 50 years. The film explores this central mystery before catching up with the now 94 years old Leonard Theremin who has finally been “rediscovered” and hailed for his achievements. Interviews with Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys, synthesizer pioneer Robert Moog and others pay tribute to the impact of his musical creation while outtakes from feature films that utilize the Theremin, such as THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL, are interspersed throughout.

Grandpa Scorpion said...

Ah, I happened to see that in the theater when it came out. Highly recommended. There's some kitschy silliness but that's the sole (minor) downside. It's quite a yarn.

Circling back to this post, Ms. Rockmore did have a prominent role in the film.

James said...

I second ea-m's recommendation. A really fascinating film. Quite a bit of Rockmore to be had therein - the finesse and precision of her performances on the Theremin are almost unbelievable. There are some decent anthologies of her recordings to be had, and a .pdf of her 'Method for Theremin' can be found here:

William Bennett said...

thanks for this film recommendation, I've now got hold of a copy and really look forward to watching it this week!