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Theremin : Ether Music and Espionage

Theremin : Ether Music and Espionage

University of Illinois Press

A book by Albert Glinsky


480 pages

Amazon.com Price $26.00

Lev Sergeyevich Termen (1896-1993) grew up in St. Petersburg, the son of a lawyer and a mother who dabbled in the arts. Naturally inclined toward music and physics, Lev understood electromagnetic fields and applied these principles to design a "space controlled" instrument employing recently developed vacuum tube oscillators and amplifiers.

Dubbing the device with his French ancestral name, Theremin, he toured Europe and America, training several to play it. Returning, perhaps abducted, to Russia as Stalin rose to power, he was imprisoned in Siberia for months, then put in a special unit to develop listening devices to spy on the U.S. Embassy.

Glinsky tells the tale of Termen's two lives with spirit and empathy, describing the horrors of the Soviet state and Termen's tenacity in continuing to create electronic instruments. Meanwhile, the original theremin inspired Robert Moog to develop his influential electronic synthesizers in the 1960s. Glinsky delves into the physics of Termen's creations, but principally this is the inspiring story of an inventive genius who launched a revolution in music making.
Alan Hirsch

--David Harrington, Kronos Quartet: "With THEREMIN, Albert Glinsky has created an amazing new thriller biography. As a guide book through the twentieth century, THEREMIN is an incredible story of invention, music, history, science, and espionage--a celebration of pure creativity."

--Ned Rorem, Composer and author: "...Very well written, absorbing, and, of course, quite unusual....a valuable biography and a valiant, excellent, and unique project."

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