Albert Glinsky: Theremin: Ether Music and Espionage (2000)

15 November 2017, dusan

“Leon Theremin led a life of flamboyant musical invention laced with daring electronic stealth. A creative genius and prolific inventor, Theremin launched the field of electronic music virtually singlehandedly in 1920 with the musical instrument that bears his name. The theremin-–the only instrument that is played without being touched-–created a sensation worldwide and paved the way for the modern synthesizer. Its otherworldly sound became familiar in sci-fi films and even in rock music. This magical instrument that charmed millions, however, is only the beginning of the story.

As a Soviet scientist, Theremin surrendered his life and work to the service of State espionage. On assignment in Depression-era America, he became the toast of New York society and worked the engines of capitalist commerce while passing data on U.S. industrial technology to the Soviet apparat. Following his sudden disappearance from New York in 1938, Theremin was exiled to a Siberian labor camp and subsequently vanished into the top-secret Soviet intelligence machine, presumed dead for nearly thirty years. Using the same technology that lay behind the theremin, he designed bugging devices that eavesdropped on U.S. diplomatic offices and stood at the center of a pivotal cold war confrontation. Throughout his life, Theremin developed many other electronic wonders, including one of the earliest televisions and multimedia devices that anticipated performance art and virtual reality by decades.

In this first full biography of Leon Theremin, Albert Glinsky depicts the inventor’s nearly one hundred-year life span as a microcosm of the twentieth century. Theremin is seen at the epicenter of most of the major events of the century: the Russian Revolution, two world wars, America’s Great Depression, Stalin’s purges, the cold war, and perestroika. His life emerges as no less than a metaphor for the divergence of communism and capitalism.”

Foreword by Robert Moog
Publisher University of Illinois Press, 2000
ISBN 0252025822, 9780252025822
xvi+403+[30] pages

Reviews: Irina L.Vanechkina (Leonardo, 2001), Hans-Joachim Braun (Tech Cult, 2001), Mark Polishook (Notes, 2001), Ann Warde (Comp Music J, 2002), Kyle Gann (Am Music, 2003).

Author
Publisher
WorldCat

PDF (138 MB, no OCR)

John F. Szwed: Space Is The Place: The Lives And Times of Sun Ra (1997)

28 January 2017, dusan

“Sun Ra, a.k.a. Herman Poole “Sonny” Blount (1914–1993), has been hailed as ‘one of the great big-band leaders, pianists, and surrealists of jazz’ (New York Times) and as ‘the missing link between Duke Ellington and Public Enemy’ (Rolling Stone). Composer, keyboardist, bandleader, philosopher, poet, and self-proclaimed extraterrestrial from Saturn, Sun Ra led his ‘Intergalactic Arkestra’ of thirty-plus musicians in a career that ranged from boogie-woogie and swing to be-bop, free jazz, fusion, and New Age music. This definitive biography reveals the life, philosophy, and musical growth of one of the twentieth century’s greatest avant-garde musicians.”

Publisher Pantheon Books, New York, 1997
ISBN 0679435891, 9780679435891
xviii+476+8 pages

Reviews: Brent Staples (NYT Books, 1997), Matthew Wuethrich (All About Jazz, 2003).

WorldCat

PDF (23 MB)

Paul Hillier: Arvo Pärt (1997)

20 January 2015, dusan

“The music of the Estonian-born composer Arvo Pärt (1935) is a unique and powerful voice in the contemporary world. Using a tonal idiom based on a mixture of scales and triads, Pärt created a style that he calls `tintinnabuli’. Listening to it, one is reminded of the passionate and tranquility of some Russian icon, or of certain memorable scenes in the films of Andrei Tarkovsky.

In this book, the first full-length study of Pärt, Paul Hillier explores the tintinnabuli works in considerable depth. He also examines the music of Pärt’s earlier, somewhat neglected serial period, and charts the composer’s steady evolution towards the `abstract tonality’ of his later years.

In addition, a biographical chapter and discussion of topics such as Russian Orthodox spirituality, minimalism, and the influence of early music, combine to make this a substantial introduction to Pärt’s music. Hillier also draws on his own experience of working with the composer to offer thoughts on various performance issues.”

Publisher Oxford University Press, 1997
Oxford Studies of Composers series
ISBN 0198165501, 9780198165507
219 pages

Publisher
WorldCat

PDF (no OCR, 78 MB)

See also 1-hour documentary, Who is Arvo Pärt? (A Journey into the Mind of a Composer), directed by Dorian Supin (1990).