Albert Glinsky: book reviews
Albert Glinsky: book reviews
Albert Glinsky: book reviews

THEREMIN: ETHER MUSIC AND ESPIONAGE
by Albert Glinsky
with a foreword by Robert Moog


Winner of the ASCAP-Deems Taylor Award

"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

"Albert Glinsky's Theremin: Ether Music and Espionage is the most exciting music biography I've ever read. Glinsky's page-turner reads like a detective story, and he fills in gaps in his subject's mysterious life with the sometimes hilarious pop history of the theremin.  Anyone remotely interested in new music should have this fascinating, effortless read." --Kyle Gann, PostClassic, an ARTSJOURNAL weblog

"Approaches the writings of Alexandr Solzhenitsyn in its intensity." --Library Journal

"A triumph. The tale is so bizarrely dramatic that the book is nearly impossible to put down." --The Wilson Quarterly

"As hair-raising as any Holocaust narrative...[Theremin's] toils in electronic espionage read like a mix of John LeCarre, Franz Kafka, and Popular Mechanics." --Baltimore City Paper

"Exhaustively researched and revealing....With a wide-ranging cast of characters...captures the impossibly convoluted, constrained and threatened lives of Soviet scientists." --Washington Post

"Glinsky is to be commended for mastering not only the intricacies of electronics and synthesizers, but also espionage, international relations, the Gulag, Kremlin politics and Soviet history. On top of that, it is just a very good read." -- Russian Life Magazine

"The story of Theremin...is vividly recounted in Albert Glinsky's Theremin: Ether Music and Espionage." --The Cleveland Plain Dealer

"A first-rate biography." --The Weekly Standard

"A fascinating rediscovery of a forgotten man, and a valuable contribution to the history of the future." --London Times

"A wonderful journey through the life of this enigmatic genius who led such a strange double life--one in the world of ‘ether music,' the other at the centre of some of the great maelstroms of the 20th century." --National Post (Canada)

"Riveting reading...As Theremin contributed to the world of science, technology, and music, so Albert Glinsky has contributed to the world of literature with a work encompassing not only biography, but communist Russian history, American life in the 20s and 30s, and electronic musical history, all in a unique and engaging package." --Avant Magazine

"Glinsky creates spy novel-worthy suspense... [An] exceptional portrayal." --Electronic Musician

"Simultaneously reads like a Cold War thriller and a history of the entire 20th century." --Philadelphia City Paper

"A long-awaited standard biography.... fascinating reading." --Toronto Star

"Top Five of the best books on popular music." --Sunday Times, London, [Culture, Robert Sandall]

Top Ten Non-fiction Books of 2000 --BookLovers Review

"Music Books of the Year-- Theremin...was an immense human being, and Glinsky... has done a terrific job of immortalizing him." --Bay Area Reporter (San Francisco)

Top Ten University Press Bestsellers --Academia

"Top Ten Books of 2000. One need not be an enthusiast of the electronic instrument that bears Leon Theremin's name to be taken by the sweep and scope of his life in this perfect biography." --David Greenberger, Metroland

"Inspired prose." --Hartford Courant

"Deserves to be read from beginning to end as a novel, for the life it depicts is simply fascinating.... It draws the reader in from the first page of the Prelude to the final words of the Postlude." --Columbia Daily Spectator

"A top-flight biography destined to remain the defining portrait of its subject." --Wire Magazine

"An Amazing...poignant story." --Keyboard Magazine

"Albert Glinsky unfolds an impossibly rich narrative with clarity, breadth, and a contagious sense of excitement." --BOOKFORUM

"Part electronic saga, part spy thriller. It's a great read, telling the story of a man caught at the crucible between Communism, Capitalism, and the Cold War." --Vintage Guitar Magazine

"The fascinating account of a life thwarted and generations of people subjected to incalculable suffering." --Bloomsbury Review

"The inspiring story of an inventive genius who launched a revolution in music making." --Booklist

"A grand biography of a fascinating man as well as a capsule history of a complicated century." --The Times of Acadiana

"The story is told in fascinating detail and Theremin's near 100-year life emerges as nothing short of an allegory of the East/West, peace/war, art/science relationship." Mojo Silver Seal-A must-read." --MOJO (The Music Magazine)

"The War and Peace of musical biographies.... Theremin: Ether Music and Espionage is a tour de force and an essential contribution to the world's knowledge: musical, artistic, scientific, and even geopolitical." --Fanfare Magazine

"Where the book really scores is in its use of Theremin's life as a metaphor for the Cold War.... The narrative can always be read as a thriller." --Gramophone Magazine

"A compelling biography whose scope goes far beyond musical concerns alone.... By emphasizing the intersections of creativity, culture, and politics in Theremin's life and work across the twentieth century, Glinsky provides answers to broad and fascinating questions." --Notes (Music Library Association)

"Albert Glinsky's captivating biography of Leon Theremin sheds light on the myriad contradictions and unraveling complexities inherent in a long life inexorably dedicated to electronic invention and sound... Mr. Glinsky's exhaustive research allows glimpses into the means by which the Theremin and its intrepid inventor wove themselves into the fabric of some of the 20th century's most far-reaching historical events..." --Computer Music Journal

"A fascinating read. Highly recommended." --Tech Directions

"A significant and revealing book on the life of an extraordinary person in a strange world." --Technology and Culture

"The book treats concurrently two distinct histories.... the development of the instrument and...the strange life of its inventor.... Both stories are treated in substantial detail, drawing on a great many sources and describing vividly the tumultuous historical events of the twentieth century that surrounded the life of the inventor and of his invention." --Journal of the American Musical Instrument Society

"Albert Glinsky tells [Theremin's] stories rivetingly well, in an exhaustively researched biography difficult to put down."  --Kyle Gann, [music critic of the Village Voice, writing in American Music]

Pre-publication reviews
(from back cover of book)

TIM PAGE -- PULITZER PRIZE-WINNING MUSIC AUTHOR AND JOURNALIST:

"Albert Glinsky's splendid and authoritative biography of Leon Theremin is the first complete recounting of an amazing life that spanned--and changed--the twentieth century. No musician, scientist, or political historian should miss it, of course, but 'Theremin: Ether Music and Espionage' will also exert a majestic fascination on the general reader."

DAVID HARRINGTON -- KRONOS QUARTET:

"With "Theremin," Albert Glinsky has created an amazing new thriller biography. As a guide book through the twentieth century, "Theremin" is an incredible story of invention, music, history, science, and espionage-- a celebration of pure creativity."

DAVID GELERNTER-- COMPUTER SCIENTIST, AUTHOR OF "Machine Beauty: Elegance and the Heart of Technology":

"Theremin's life is one of the strangest and most intriguing of the twentieth century--and it presents a fantastically complex challenge to any biographer. Glinsky succeeds brilliantly in turning a nearly incoherent, practically incomprehensible life into a coherent and consistently fascinating narrative. Anyone who cares about art and technology, or twentieth-century music, or communist Russia or modern America or life in general will want to read this book."

NED ROREM-- PULITZER PRIZE-WINNING COMPOSER:

"'Theremin' is very well written, absorbing, and of course, quite unusual. It is a valuable biography and a valiant, excellent, and unique project."

VLADIMIR ASHKENAZY-- INTERNATIONAL CONCERT PIANIST AND CONDUCTOR:

"Those people who live in the western world will find it almost impossible to fathom the depth of fear in our daily lives in the U.S.S.R. We all had to invent ways of 'co-operating' with the authorities on the face of it whilst in fact trying to do next to nothing of what they really wanted of us. Leon Theremin's choices in the U.S.S.R. were extremely limited and yet he managed to survive as someone who contributed something unique to the world and who apparently didn't sell his soul to the devil--but the reader should judge this for himself. 'Theremin: Ether Music and Espionage' is a truly fascinating story."

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