What better way to test our new embedded video player (thanks Doron!) than by serving up a hot batch of theremin footage.
On the left (above), it's theremin virtuosa, teacher and composer (and grand-niece of inventor Leon Theremin!) Lydia Kavina giving a great performance of Debussy's Clair De Lune on The James Whale Radio Show, on late night British TV. Lydia might be better known for WFMU listeners for her appearances with the German-Russian duo known as Messer Chups and Messer Fur Frau Muller. Thanks to 42hz.
On the left (above), we have Jon Spencer playing/abusing a theremin from a fake children's TV show (I think). This was produced for a Matador video compilation, perhaps this one. On the right, it's the great Samuel Hoffman performing "a popular dance melody" on the 1953 TV show You Asked For It. Several years before this performance, Hoffman
scored performed on Hitchcock's Spellbound soundtrack as well as the theremin-laden score for The Day The Earth Stood Still. In 1966-67, Hoffman played with Captain
Beefheart on The Magic Band's Electricity and Safe as Milk. Thanks to abbasidanyal for The Jon Spencer clip and to weirdvideos1 for the Hoffman footage.
On the left, a dry demonstration of the theremin which illustrates the theremin's functionality, the vertical element controlling pitch and the horizontal element controlling volume. On the right, Leon Theremin himself in 1991 at age 95, teaching Paul Lansky how to play Glinka's Skylark, the same tune Theremin once taught Lenin to play. Thanks to grimtim2 for the Leon Theremin video and Randy George of the The Ether and Aether Experiment for the demo.
Back in the 90's when WFMU ran our Catalog of Curiosities, one of the most popular items we sold were theremin kits made by Paia known as the Theremax. They worked great and weren't too difficult to put together. Playing them was another story - I drove a lot of people crazy while trying to learn how to play the melody line from Good Vibrations.
Other theremin recources: