ETHER MUSIC AND ESPIONAGE
by Albert Glinsky,
with a foreword by synthesizer pioneer Robert Moog.
|"Theremin had one of the 20th century's most astonishing
careers, wonderfully documented in Albert Glinsky's book, 'Theremin: Ether
Music and Espionage.'
-- The New York Times
"Approaches the writings of Alexandr Solzhenitsyn in its intensity."
"As hair-raising as any Holocaust narrative...[Theremin's] toils in electronic
espionage read like a mix of John LeCarre, Franz Kafka, and Popular
Leon Theremin (1896-1993) 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 syntehsizer... Its otherworldly sound became familiar in sci-fi films and even in rock music. This magical instrument that charmed millions, howver, 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 commercse 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. He subsequently vanished into the top-secret Soviet intelligence machine and was 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.
Leon Theremin with Albert Glinsky, 1991
|Theremin's nearly 100-year lifespan is depicted by Albert Glinsky as
a microcosm of the twentieth century. He 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
Theremin: Ether Music and Espionage blends the whimsical and the treacherous into a chronicle that takes in everything from the KGB to Macy's store windows, Alcatraz to the Beach Boys, Hollywood thrillers to the United Nations, Joseph Stalin to Shirley Temple. Theremin's world of espionage and invention is an amazing drama of hidden loyalties, mixed motivations, and an irrepressibly creative spirit.
Albert Glinsky has created an interdisciplinary presentation, Termen-ology, based on the life and work of Leon Theremin.
Left: Albert Glinsky and Robert Moog at book signing
in Buffalo, NY.
|THE BOOK||BOOK REVIEWS||TERMEN-OLOGY||MERCHANDISE|