This Sunday, Music Niagara continues its At Home Series with music produced by two strikingly different instruments.
One is all touch, and a mainstay of all music; the other is no touch at all, and widely unknown.
This latter instrument, the theremin, is a fascinating electronic device invented in 1920 by a young Russian physicist, Leon Theremin, as part of then Russian government-sponsored, and decidedly not musical, research into proximity sensors. It consists of two metal antennas that sense the relative position of the thereminist’s hands, and control oscillators for frequency with one hand, and volume with the other. The electric signals are then amplified and sent to a loudspeaker. The result is an ethereal and pure sound with a spooky quality, that has been widely used in movies and television shows, recently and notably in Midsomer Murders, as well as in 21st-century new music and rock. The Moog synthesizer was later a byproduct.
Our performance is by Dutch thereminist Thorwald Jorgensen, one of the leading classical theremin players in the world. He has played it in leading orchestras, as a chamber musician, soloist, and on radio and television throughout the world. His elegant, almost immobile stance and unmoved expression as he coaxes the ether into producing sound is quite remarkable to witness, and much enhanced by the immediacy of the video.
The other instrument is, of course, the piano, this week featured in a recital by Constanze Beckmann, an artist familiar to our audience from previous appearances with Music Niagara. Beckmann is a German-born pianist who has performed throughout Europe, Canada and Israel. She regularly plays with musicians from the Toronto Symphony Orchestra and the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, and is a sought-after collaborator for singers and string players. Since 2010, she has also participated in numerous projects as a pianist and curator, featuring works composed by survivors as part of Holocaust Education Week. Beckmann will play three pieces: Bach, Partita No. 4 in D major; Mozart, Piano Sonata K.576 in D major, and Brahms, Intermezzo No. 1 in E-Flat Major,
To watch this performance or find information on the 2020 season, go to Music Niagara’s new website on the day of the event, at https://www.musicniagara.org/, and click on Watch Live.