Richard Strauss’ Wiegenlied, On Theremin

This is a transcription of the Wiegenlied by German composer Richard Strauss, arranged for theremin, accompanied by MIDI theremin.

via copperleaves:

When I listened to Strauss’ original arrangement of this song, written for soprano and piano (later arranged for orchestra by the composer), it seemed to me he was trying to get a “celestial” sound from the keyboard. Since the Moog Ethervox MIDI theremin can produce amazing cascades of notes, I thought it might be able to capture the sort of heavenly, dreamy, harp-like feeling that Strauss was looking for.

I believe that the Moog Ethervox theremin (with full MIDI capabilities) is the finest theremin ever made. It is my understanding that only about 50 of them were manufactured in the 1990’s (the one in this video is serial # 007). The creation of the instrument was a collaboration between the late Robert Moog and German software designer, Rudi Linhard.

It is actually two instruments in one, a gestural MIDI controller and a traditional theremin. Although this work is a cradle song it is far more complex than it seems on the surface. It is divided into three parts, which I believe symbolize the three ages of a man: the child, the hero and the wise man.

Unfortunately, there isn’t enough space here for me to go into the details of why I think this. Anyone familiar with the operas of Richard Strauss knows that his music is filled with the rich symbolism of a composer/philosopher.

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