New Instrument Heard (1937) - from the Archives

New Instrument Heard

Theremin Is Played in Massey Hall by Clara Rockmore
The Globe, Toronto
24th November 1937

At yesterday afternoon's Young People's Concert by the Toronto Symphony Orchestra under Dr. Ernest MacMillan in Massey Hall, Clara Rockmore, the world's only artistic performer upon that new musical marvel, the Theremin, was the soloist. She played parts of two violin concertos, with orchestral accompaniment, and as an encore Saint Saen's "Swan", with Dr. MacMillan at the piano. Her performance was, of course, the feature of the program although the orchestra played Brahms, Dvorak and Wagner selections with thoroughly satisfactory effectiveness.

The Theremin is about the shape and size of a small writing desk, with considerable electrical equipment, and an amplifier behind the player. It sounds like a viola with all the strings stopped, as it produces no clean, open tone. It gave us no chords, polyphony, harmonics, phrasing, staccato notes, or impressive volume, either, and its continuous portamento slide up and down the scale with unvarying "con bocca chiusa" tone, like a radio crooner's, became rather monotonous.

In short, judging by this one hearing, the instrument hardly seems likely to add much to the resources of musical art. However, a successful solo recital is said to have been given in New York recently, and we must wait till Mrs. Rockmore visits us again before passing final judgement. Meanwhile, it is certainly a marvellous invention, and we should all feel grateful for being given this chance to see and hear it. For all we know, it may replace the piano in every home in the not far distant future.-


Tagged: Clara Rockmore

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Concert Program (1936)
Miss Clara Rockmore Grants an Interview (1936)
New Instrument Heard (1937)
Clara Rockmore Theremin Recital (1938)
Miss Rockmore Gives Recital On Theremin (1938)
An Interview With Clara Rockmore (1967)
Clara Rockmore's Theremin (1989)
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Theremin Virtuoso Passes Unnoticed (1998)
Meeting Clara Rockmore (2001)

Clara Rockmore

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