Got back to Tbilisi at 4 and slept till 1. Got into my usual weekend listening to Mezzo and reading the Economist.
Today Mezzo doesn't seem to be having its usual repeats. I looked up to see what looked like an arthritic hand conducting the music. But at the back of the octet, it wasn't in the right place for conducting, and it kept flicking it's fingers about as if it was playing an invisible stringed instrument. Eventually the camera panned to show a young woman attached to the hand, with another hand doing similar but different strange movements. Finally I connected this with the part of the music that consisted of high pitched eerie sounds, but rather expressive, and not really "electronic".
You can read about the theremin on Wikipedia here. It seems it was the first electronic musical instrument and is still popular now, though I must say I had never heard of it. It was invented by a Russian, know as Leon Theremin in America, who has his own curious story. He died this year on November 3.
Here is how it works (from Wikipedia)
The controlling section usually consists of two metal antennas which sense the position of the player's hands and control radio frequency oscillator(s) for frequency with one hand, and volume with the other. The electric signals from the theremin are amplified and sent to a loudspeaker. The theremin is an electrophone, a subset of the quintephone family.
Back to more usual subjects soon.
The theremin is associated with an "eerie" sound, which has led to its use in movie soundtracks such as those in Spellbound, The Lost Weekend, and The Day the Earth Stood Still. Theremins are also used in art music (especially avant-garde and 20th century "new music") and in popular music genres such as rock.
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