Theremin is always a technology, a bit of mysticism, a handful of procrastination or reflection (by choice) The global theremin community is a very narrow circle of fans and enthusiasts of the theremin, among whom there are a very, very limited number of professional thereminists, Nevertheless, the problem of a high-quality concert instrument is most acute today and hinders the development of the performing art of playing the theremin in the modern cultural space.
Each thereminist solves this problem for himself individually ‘: someone installs a module, someone acquires a pedal, someone buys an infinite number of theremins in the hope of finding ideal , and someone is content with one available theremin and humbly works with what is, locking your dreams in the closet.
Fifteen years ago, Bob Moog released his latest theremin, the Moog Pro which was developed by Bob Moog in collaboration with the wonderful thereminist Pamelia Stickney , this instrument was released in a limited edition and won the hearts of most foreign professional thereminists. For many years, MoogPro has been available only in the secondary market and its cost reaches $ 6,000
This situation severely hits young and emerging theremin performers who need a quality instrument to be able to build a public performing career. Leopold Stokowski joked that Clara Rockmore could play anything, even a kitchen stove, but in reality Clara achieved everything on the exclusive theremin created for her by Lev Theremin .
For my taste, the Moog pro theremin contains too much synthetics and simplified sterility for my Russian soul to strive for this instrument, but on the other hand, most foreign professional thereminists choose Moog Pro, and I cannot blame them for this, because stability in a concert theremin is often above all, and being a good fellow on the Moog Pro is much easier than working on more whimsical, laborious and good modern theremins such as a subscope, wave front, etc.
I perfectly understand that the acoustic barrier between the instruments of Lev Theremin and Robert Moog never will be overcome, but it is not required, since it is impossible to build a personal brand on copying a genius, behind the Moog instruments will always be his own personality, perception and American pop culture.
An unforgettable moment in my life was the situation when a few years ago the thereminists drew up a petition to the Moog Music management with an urgent request to re-circulate the Moog Pro theremins, then Moog Music considered the release of Moog Pro unprofitable and released a wonderful toy theremini, which brings joy to most people, but not professional thereminists : leading European thereminist Carolina Eyck even refuses to give lessons to the theremini holders. But there are no rules without exceptions, some theremin players appreciate the snow-white design and the digital sound of the theremini, for example, Canadian performer Clara Venice is quite happy with her instrument, thereminist Dorit Chrysler even organized an educational project that teaches children to work with theremini, this project is quite successful and has existed for more than one year. The new theremin product from Moog Music is ready to bring joy to every home this Christmas.
I would say that the new instrument is created on the principle of cronut and is ready to satisfy both classical thereminists and electronic musicians, this is a commercial product with the famous Moog quality at a very attractive price – only $ 1,500 and the instrument is yours if you have time to submit your application to the end 2020 year. Another intrigue lies in the name of the new theremin model, the instrument is named after the outstanding thereminist Clara Rockmore (née Reisenberg), Clara inspires the majority of modern thereminists, in the 21st century many have decided to purchase a theremin only thanks to the recordings of Clara Rockmore To my great regret, there are not so many recordings of Clara, and the quality of the recording sometimes leaves much to be desired, but it seems to me that this does not prevent us from loving and appreciating Clara still more. The name Сlaravox ‘is certainly not only a touching Christmas metaphor in the year of the theremin’s centenary, but also a tribute to Clara, a brilliant and unsurpassed theremin virtuoso, whose skill proved to be unattainable in the 21st century
The first serial release of RCA theremin in 1929, amounted to about 500 theremins at that time, the Great Depression seriously affected the level of sales and today, during a global pandemic, purchasing power is greatly reduced, will Moog Music manage to exceed the level of sales in 1929?
I really hope so. The emergence of a new instrument is always a great joy for anyone involved in the theremin world in one way or another, it is always an inspiration and a desire to immediately test it. In an interview with Coralie Ehenger for the French Theremin portal, Gregoire Blanc said that during the development of Claravox Moog Music, consulted with tree thereminists : Pamelia Stickney, Dorit Chrysler and Gregoire Blanc
Moog Music positions Claravox as the most versatile product ever to hit the theremin market. Indeed, the news about Claravox inspired many people , but the promo video of Gregoire Blanc surprised me, the sound was sharper than that on the Moog Pro, and made the traditional sound of Gregoire’s performing technique less enjoyable, and I understand that there are many settings in Claravox and there are many differences in individual performing techniques, so video did not bring me any new constructive information, Of course, Gregorie is very talented and very attractive young man, but this does not help in any way to clarify the real situation with Claravox.
Perhaps a promo video from Pamelia will help to hear and understand some things about the classic part of the new theremin.
For Theremin Today – several leading thereminists agreed to share their impressions of the Claravox presentation.
Unfortunately, I can not say anything about Claravox until I don’t have the opportunity to try it out. How could I know without playing on it? There are so many tiny little things that count. Listening to Gregoire Blanc’s wonderful playing is not enough to know how Claravox works. For me it seems very similar to the E- Pro. Since I have only an Etherwave Plus and a Subscope theremin I have zero experience about the E- Pro. I do not order the new Claravox until I have not enough information about the instrument. A good demonstration video about Claravox would be useful for the theremin community and would help the sales too
What was your first impression about Clarovox after Gregoire’s presentation?
First I was a bit shocked due to my new acquisition last September (the Epro of which I have been dreaming since 2017 ou 2018.). Of course, I didn’t know anything about this project. But then, objectively, I concluded that I shouldn’t regret my choice to purchase my new instrument because I really, sincerely, love it, today and forever. The Claravox will never detract the stunning quality of the Epro, but I think it may be the continuity of this one with new options.
Which is great. I have been very interested about the technical presentation and the new functions. What I heard from Gregoire’s video sounds very closed to the sound of an Epro. I also find the new sounds very interesting. To conclude, I feel relieved and glad that Moog firm has finally heard the wishes of the thereminists who discovered the theremin world when the Epro was not available anymore.
Are you planning to purchase Сlarovox?
I plan to purchase it as soon as possible because I think, if the Claravox has the same playability as the Epro, it can be very helpful. Then, I would like to know this new instrument to be able to compare the models and conclude what is the most convenient for me.
Is there any hope that Clarovox is a serious concert theremin of your dreams?
I will be able to tell about it when I can test it. Now, it is too early to answer because I don’t know this instrument and I haven’t seen enough videos. But, of course, what I heard from Dorit Chrysler and Gregoire Blanc, Let me think that it could have some hope that the Claravox is a serious concert theremin.
As an EPro theremin player, I have been waiting & hoping on a new and similar instrument for a long time. I am indeed very afraid of my instrument having troubles. Thierry Frenkel is a genius and has been able to repair it a few times, but he told me that we are facing a lack of components. So I am scared one day no one could repair my theremin anymore. When I saw Grégoire’s video, I was still doubtful – Grégoire is a very talented player and almost any theremin sounds beautiful when he plays! I had a chat with him and I am now starting to hope the Claravox could be an interesting instrument for me, with all the possibilities & connections to synth it will allow. The CV of my Epro are very unstable. They need up to 45min heating up before being stable. This is highly annoying for performing. I decided to purchase a Claravox to test and see if there’s a match between this instrument & myself. The sound, playability & feeling I will get when playing the instrument is most important of all. So only future will tell if I will start performing with Claravox or not. I have the feeling every theremin has its own personality, or “soul”. So, I doubt I will replace my Epro with a Claravox. I have a very strong connection/bound with my instruments. It will probably just be another “person” in my house, with whom I might make a lot of music, or not. Today, I am full of hope and excitement, but also fear of being disappointed.
The release of a new theremin model is a great way to celebrate the centenary of the instrument we all love so much. Congratulations to Moog Music on this exciting event in the theremin world! The design of the instrument is pretty nice and recognizable, you can immediately see the Moog style. It is valuable that ClaraVox is compact for transportation, and is suitable in size to be taken in hand luggage on the plane, this is important if you travel a lot with the instrument.
I have not yet found information on it’s weight on the site (perhaps I just did not notice it). I like the name ClaraVox very much. The instrument is positioned as an elite one, intended for highly qualified performers, and the creators were able to express this even in the name of the model – those people who are inside the theremin culture and know the history of the instrument immediately, from one name, understand what and whom they are talking about, and immediately tuned in to expect great virtuoso possibilities from the instrument.
The set of control knobs on the front panel is very good and shows that the creators do not just produce a beautiful item, but have collaborated a lot with musicians and listened to feedback and wishes. Separately, I want to congratulate and thank Gregoire for the love with which he tried to embody Clara Rockmore’s playing techniques in his Debussy recording. It is difficult to give a more detailed review of the new theremin without trying it with your own hands. Therefore, I will look forward to the opportunity to try out Claravox in practice, play on it, and then I will share my impressions in more detail.
About Claravox – Moog Music