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Music In And On The Air / Clara Rockmore, theremin

Notes & Reviews:

A major gap in Clara Rockmore's recorded legacy will be closed with the release of Music In and On the Air, a CD derived from a live 1979 WQXR broadcast. To celebrate the 9th anniversary of a series called The Listening Room, Clara brought her therein to The New York Times building, and before a full house in the auditorium there, played solos and chamber pieces with her renowned pianist-sister Nadia Reisenberg, the superb violinist Erick Friedman, and eight members of the Violincello Society.

In addition to St. Saens' "The Swan" and Cassado's "Requiebros" (available in studio recordings on Delos and Bridge CDs, respectively), Clara and Erick played Rachmaninoff's "Song of Georgia" in the Fritz Kreisler transcription with violin obbligato, and then, with Nadia continuing to eputize for the orchestra, they shared the solos in the slow movement of Bach's D Minor Double Violin Concerto. Taking further advantage of Erick and Nadia, who later that year would be appearing in recital at Carnegie Hall and the Caramoor Festival, we prevailed upon them to play two movements of the Franck A Major Sonata.

When the members of the Violincello Society arrived, they warmed up with Beethoven, then accompanied Clara in the celebrated "Air on the G String" and the radiant "Aria" from Villa-Lobos' Bachianas Brasileiras #5. Interviews with the artists are included, and the album notes are brightened by a number of never-before- published photos of Clara and Lev Termen himself.

American Record Guide, July / August 2012
The choice of repertoire is indicative of one of the limitations of the instrument: because of the nature of the thing, it is all portamento all of the time. Rockmore, by adept management of pitch and vibrato, could make the theremin sound convincingly like a violin or cello, even like a human voice in the Bachianas Brasileiras. Her skill and musicianship is altogether remarkable. Whether it is all worth the candle, let the listener decide. There are reasons why the Theremin remains a cult object.


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