Author Topic: Anis Fuleihan Concerto for Theremin  (Read 5987 times)

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Offline Ugh!

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Anis Fuleihan Concerto for Theremin
« on: November 16, 2008, 01:00:41 AM »
As performed by Clara Rockmore, an absolutely stunningly beautiful romantic work which shows how well the Theremin is able to blend in with an orchestra. Should the Theremin have been more fully accepted as an orchestra instrument?

Offline Cato

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Re: Anis Fuleihan Concerto for Theremin
« Reply #1 on: November 16, 2008, 03:30:40 PM »
The problem for the theremin now is the wealth of science fiction associations with the instrument, not to mention all the Good Vibrations from the Beach Boys!   0:)
"Meet Miss Ruth Sherwood, from Columbus, Ohio, the Middle of the Universe!"

- Brian Aherne introducing Rosalind Russell in  My Sister Eileen (1942)

Offline SonicMan46

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Re: Anis Fuleihan Concerto for Theremin
« Reply #2 on: November 16, 2008, 04:25:50 PM »
My in-laws owned a theremin (like the one shown below, left) which was functional - fun to 'play' - there is a documentary (below, right) that I can recommend; of course, the instrument (or machine) was used in a lot of sci-fi flicks from the 50s - can't really comment on incorporation into a symphony orchestra, but likely will not happen -  :)


   

Offline Ugh!

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Re: Anis Fuleihan Concerto for Theremin
« Reply #3 on: November 16, 2008, 11:34:29 PM »
The problem for the theremin now is the wealth of science fiction associations with the instrument, not to mention all the Good Vibrations from the Beach Boys!   0:)

 ;D
But of course, that was not a Theremin, it was Dr. Paul Tanner's "The Box" that produced the good vibrations. But yes, it did produce a Theremin-like sound.



I agree with the problem related to the overuse of Theremin glissandos in sci-fi movies. But I find that it blends in really well with the orchestra, just as the Ondes Martenot of Messiaen's Thurangalila. Clara Rockmore was an accomplished violin player when she decided to give it up for a career as professional Thereminist  ;) A lot of composers did compose experimental pieces for the Theremin, and there were many attempts at rearranging violin sonatas, etc. for the instruments. But IMO Fuleihan's romantic concerto for Theremin, far removed from the sci-fi glissandos, remains the most successful. And this is coming from an experimentalist who happens to become bored with romanticism very very quickly....

Offline Ugh!

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Re: Anis Fuleihan Concerto for Theremin
« Reply #4 on: November 17, 2008, 03:38:04 AM »
It is a chimera that just doesn't fit in anywhere, in that audiences who are attracted to the romanticism of the work would -- by and large -- be suspicious of some electronic device and an unfamiliar composer with an unsanctioned name and that audiences interested in electronic instruments may be impatient with with style. As time passes (as it does) and as such prejudices are forgotten (as they sometimes do), it may just hit the spot. 

Has the concerto been revived? I know it only by a broadcast rec. w/ Stokowski I got a tape copy of back in the '80s and haven't listened to since the '90s. (I mentioned it to someone who had some ongoing association w/ Rockmore, who, if I remember the exchange properly,  had apparently not heard it since then, so I sent along a copy). '


AFAIK the concerto has not been revived, and the only recorded version I know is the Stokowski one (he was the one who commissioned it in the first place, and it was written in close dialogue with Clara Rockmore).

I think you are right on target re:chimera that doesn't fit in anywhere. Matter out of place, as Mary Douglas would call it. But then again, she attributes a lot of power to these kinds of cultural anomalities ;)

Offline Ugh!

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Re: Anis Fuleihan Concerto for Theremin
« Reply #5 on: November 17, 2008, 09:39:39 AM »
Mary Douglas is a new name to me, and someone to know more about. What are some of her examples? Is the category "things that are sui generis" or those things produced by that are reappropriated and repurposed by another (like Levi-Strauss's bricoleur)? Such cross-breeds as a romantic theremin concerto can form bridges (I want to say "like third-stream jazz," but I am not sure to what extent it really did), and perhaps it causes us to update a narrow grasp we have have on "romanticism" and "theremins"  '


Her theories on this subject were presented in Purity and Danger. Briefly put, according to Douglas, cultural laws including dietary laws, etc., regulate boundary maintenance (keeping categories pure). Things that do not seem to fall easily into categories - for instance the platipus (beak but no bird) and the pig (cloven hoof but does not chew cud) - are subject to prohibitions, taboos, etc, they are, culturally speaking, connected to danger. These theories seemed to fit well in with dietary rules in the Old Testament: holiness necessitates purity in categories, and consequently ambiguity endangers holiness. Later in life, she claimed that her initial theories (regarding the Bible) had been erroneous. However the theory has been applied in many other cultural contexts. According to this theory then, the Theremin is clearly an anomaly threatening the purity of tradition in the orchestra.


pjme

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Re: Anis Fuleihan Concerto for Theremin
« Reply #6 on: November 17, 2008, 11:58:02 AM »
So, great , "anomalies" can help us to break the moulds!
The Theremin is fiendishly difficult to perform on/with...Miklos Rozsa used it to great effect in "The lost week end" ( concertsuite on Koch/ 3-7375-2H1 / James Sedares / New Zealand SO/Tamra Saylor Fine Theremin).



However, Lydia Kavina is now the highpriestess of Planet Theremin! No vibrational field, no Intergalactic wavelenght is too difficult for her!! ( I heard & saw her in Nicoilai Obouchov's Le livre de vie) .

see:www.lydiakavina.com

Peter

ps: in january I have great news for you all from the ondes Martenot front!



pjme

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Re: Anis Fuleihan Concerto for Theremin
« Reply #7 on: November 17, 2008, 12:02:05 PM »
This Theremin id from the instruments collection at the Gemeentemuseum in The Hague. RCA Victor/Lev Termen 1925. Classy!

Offline Cato

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Re: Anis Fuleihan Concerto for Theremin
« Reply #8 on: November 19, 2008, 07:50:18 AM »
This Theremin id from the instruments collection at the Gemeentemuseum in The Hague. RCA Victor/Lev Termen 1925. Classy!

That the theremin has an id is a horrifying revelation,   :o
and reminds me of the terrors I experienced on Altair-5 with Professor Morbius!

But that is another story!   0:)

Anyway, yes, the Beach Boys' theremin was modified with a lever/keyboard of some sort, so the notes could be found very easily.
"Meet Miss Ruth Sherwood, from Columbus, Ohio, the Middle of the Universe!"

- Brian Aherne introducing Rosalind Russell in  My Sister Eileen (1942)

Offline Ugh!

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Re: Anis Fuleihan Concerto for Theremin
« Reply #9 on: November 23, 2008, 08:38:25 AM »
That the theremin has an id is a horrifying revelation,   :o
and reminds me of the terrors I experienced on Altair-5 with Professor Morbius!

Krell music has been known to do that to you ;)