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Monday, March 23, 2009

Clair de Lune on Theremin

Claude Debussy (1862-1918) would have enjoyed this performance of Clair de Lune arranged and extracted from his piano piece Suite bergamasque. It's performed here by the virtuoso Russian Thereminist Lydia Kavina. Kavina (b. 1967) is the grand-niece of the inventor Léon Theremin (born in 1896 as Lev Sergeyevich Termen, died in 1993). Kavina travels the world playing this unusual instrument, and is a composer as well.

Even in the 21st century with all of our technological advances, the magic of the Theremin continues to fascinate us. It is an instrument that is extremely difficult to control and perform on with any accuracy. Trust me, I own one and can speak from experience. As a result, I have a great appreciation of Kavina's formative musical ability.

If she ever comes to the Boston area for master classes, I will be sure to sign up for lessons. (She was scheduled a few years back to give a week-long master class at Dartmouth College, but that got cancelled).

I'm not sure how she selectively plays two simultaneous pitches at places in this performance. There seems to be some additional electronics involved.

For more information about Kavina, visit her website:

Or read about her on Wikipedia:

If you haven't seen it, I strongly recommend the feature length documentary film about the inventor: THEREMIN - An Electronic Odyssey.