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Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Carolina Eyck, Fantasias for Theremin and String Quartet

The theremin was one of the very first purely electronic instruments. Science fiction flicks, the Beach Boys' "Good Vibrations," the sound of the instrument has been in our musical folkways for a long time, yet not as many new music works have featured the instrument as one might have expected. Part of that has to do with the genuine challenge that playing the instrument well poses.

Carolina Eyck is one of the present-day masters of the theremin. She also is a composer of talent. Put the two together and you have her Fantasias for Theremin and String Quartet (Butterscotch Records CD and LP BSR-015), joining her instrumental prowess with the American Contemporary Music Ensemble String Quartet for six postmodern-modern journeys into spacious realms of the new. Readers may recall Kalevi Aho's "Concerto for Theremin" recording that features Ms. Eyck in a prominent role. That was posted on here last September 24, 2014.

The string quartet on these compositions forms the all-important melodic and harmonically patterned backdrops over which Eyck's theremin soars. The fantasia form opens up the music to a wide set of contexts with the emphasis on expression and dreamy soundscapes.

Ms. Eyck triumphs both instrumentally and compositionally for some of the most important and engaging theremin music of our times.

Enthusiastically recommended.

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