The theremin, that strange and kooky electronic instrument that gave us the theme from the original Star Trek television show in the 1960’s, and again brought back to the popular culture through CBS’s hit Sit-Com “The Big Bang Theory,” and that shows quirky character Sheldon Cooper (played by actor Jim Parsons).
For whatever reason it is/was I was thinking about the theremin today and decided to try and find more music that not just utilizes it, but actually features it. I mean the only instances I am aware of it being used is the afore mentioned Star Trek theme, and the Big Bang Theory. In the first the music just made by the Theremin sounds as dated as the special effects in that television show, in the second the theremin is used primarily used as a comedic device – which is understandable since the Big Bang Theory is a comedy television show.
Using the glorious power of the internet, and specifically YouTube, I found the below video featuring Pamelia Kurstin, who is, of all things, a theremin virtuoso, playing a piece from her album “Thinking Out Loud.”
Upon listening to that piece by Ms. Kurstin, I think virtuoso is an apt title given to her. I find the music in that piece pleasing in a rather haunting way. At times her playing of the theremin sounds like a weeping violin, and at others it sounds as if there is a Gregorian like chorus in the background, and rarely does it sound like the music is being made by something that I think most people would agree is a non-traditional instrument.
Then there is this piece by Peter Pringle, called “Lemminkainen Dream,” using an electric kantele, and a theremin, which is equally impressive, if not more pleasing than the one above.