As a composer and Theremin player I wanted to use and display the textural and micro-tonal possibilities of this special instrument.
The Theremin is often squeezed in the role of violin/Cello or sound effect. I composed 'Music for Empty Places' out of a need to recognize the Theremin as an instrument in its own right. Intrigued by Leon Theremin who conducted Theremin orchestras and fascinated by the tantalizing old film clip recordings that were performed by Clara Rockmore, I decided to write a new song for the instrument. As I composed many layers for the Theremin ensemble I found that the ability to make the sharps really sharp and the flats really flat, freed my composition from the chains of the tempered scale.
I began to 'feel' rather than hear the harmonies within the suite.
In 'The City that was once loved' I tried to evoke the feel of my back garden on the edge of the city, the sounds of the cars & machines of human life intermingled with the bird song & sounds of my 'little piece of wilderness'. If you listen carefully you can make out the song bird trying to break through the city sounds.
The Theremin can truly evoke ‘Landscapes’ I was beginning to find with tracks as
'On a lost Path', Along the Old Canal' (which was intended as a 'Parisian Air' but became a
tune I whistled when walking back from Town late at night to stop thinking that someone was
'A road we once knew', are memories of walking through the post industrial world
of South Yorkshire, mainly Sheffield, which was being transformed very slowly from an
industrial waste into a modern city.
'When the Roses were so Beautiful' is a small 'paean' to my Grandmother's front garden
in the mining village where we lived. It was the biggest and the best rose garden in the
whole village! But of course I'd say that.
Looking back to look at the future! That is how I feel about the Theremin. I can create my own 'Movie Themes' of where I was and of where I dream to be.
It's the same with 'Look into the Waters'. The video by HWP really evoked what I intended: a time at the seaside, the first time perhaps? With the family coming together on this frontier of worlds. The young family looking at a point of departure. We were here! Where shall we go?
'I Wait in this Room', How many of us feel that we are waiting for a specific moment?
That crucial moment that will change our lives, only to find out that if you wait for it, it
never comes! You have to stop waiting and wanting to find it!
'The Girl with the Glass Hand'. Sometimes a title comes without any meaning besides
what is in the title itself. Her hand is transparent; maybe her actions and heart are too? Is she
sad as she is marked 'apart' because of this glass hand. She is a comic book character in some
ways, but I think it may be she does beautiful things because of the hand of glass.
Lastly 'Empty Places'. I wanted to show how romantic the Theremin can be. I want to
give voice to all the places we don't notice or just pass through in the city and in our minds,
in fact all the places that once were and will be, as the pace of change increases in the human world.
I truly hope you will enjoy listening to 'Empty Places' - Suite for Theremin Ensemble.