Album: Lydia Kavina, Spellbound! Original Works for Theremin (Mode)

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The Independent Culture

The grand-niece of Léon Theremin himself, Lydia Kavina was tutored on his pioneering electronic instrument by its inventor from the age of nine, quickly becoming her generation's combined equivalent of Clara Rockmore and Dr Samuel Hoffman, experts respectively of the instrument's classical and Hollywood applications.

Thus did she play the theremin on Howard Shore's score for Ed Wood, rearranged here by the composer into a suite which showcases not only the instrument's spooky qualities, but also its ability to underscore the more comical, bathetic moments. The most substantial pieces are Christian Wolff's "Exercise 28" from 2000, a New York School fragmentary bricolage of violin, double bass, French horn and theremin; and Olga Neuwirth's stunning suite from her surrealist opera Bahlamms Fest (1999), in which Kavina demonstrates the instrument's full emotional range, from louche, bourgeois waltz to chilly evocation of the cold wind of humanity, to the terrified squeals of a Bah-Lamb to the slaughter.

Pick of the album:'Suite aus Bahlamms Fest', 'Suite from Ed Wood', 'Exercise 28'