So many years after its invention, the theremin (an electromagnetic instrument triggered by hand gestures) remains cruelly underexposed, but consequently has kept its aura of mystery. This session involving theremin virtuoso Rob Schwimmer, pianist Uri Caine, and violinist Mark Feldman is therefore a highly unusual one. Most of the material was written by Schwimmer or arranged by him from Bernard Herrmann's film scores. A few tracks were collectively written or improvised. The instrument's innate ability for eerie glissandos secured it a recurring role in horror/suspense movies. Herrmann was one of the first to understand its potential and used it in his soundtracks for Alfred Hitchcock, especially in Vertigo. Schwimmer picked the best moments ("Carlotta's Portrait/Farewell," "The Nightmare/The Tower"), reaching the CD's highlight in his arrangement of "Scene d'Amour," a gripping number where all three musicians showcase their talents, building to an irresistible climax. The theremin's wail can mimic the human voice (a ghostly, haunting one) or string instruments (either violin, viola, or cello, depending on the register used). Many times the listener isn't quite sure who is playing the melody. To complement the theremin's range of expression, the leader occasionally uses effects or turns to the harsher daxophone. The music varies from foggy cabaret jazz numbers (Uri Caine's personal touch) to cinematic music crossed with contemporary classical. Highly lyrical, always firmly tonal and melodic, even though the instrumentation makes it feel off-the-wall and avant-gardist, Theremin Noir is inhabited by an uncanny beauty. A moody, delicate, and highly original album. Strongly recommended.
François Couture (All Music)
Il y a 4 ans