The MIDI version is richly informative. There are long passages where there’s almost no rhythmic correspondence between the notes as written (and as “performed” in the MIDI) and the way that humans perform them. People are playing the same notes in the same order, but have pretty much thrown Bach’s written rhythms out the window. But the MIDI isn’t a very satisfying listening experience.
Let’s get a little more serious now. Finnish composer Kaveli Aho’s concerto for solo theremin and chamber orchestra (recording released in 2014, piece written a few years earlier), performed here by theremin all-star Carolina Eyck is an eight-part homage to Lapland, the most northerly region of Finland. Based on the eight-season division of the year, which is traditional for Lapland’s native Sami people, this work is dense with expressionistic harmony and icy, shimmering textures. It’s great, too, to hear the theremin being explored in all its range — often we only hear the middle and higher registers. In this piece, there are moments when the theremin takes on the sounds of other instruments, like the Chinese erhu or the viola, but also moments when it flutters like a bird. This piece is a real treat and a welcome introduction to the expansive oeuvre of Kaveli Aho.