Hattie Lloyd 09/09/19
Retrophonica | Theremin Concert In An Underground Theatre
The theremin is the only musical instrument you can play without touching it.
Unless, of course, you have panpipes and a very powerful diaphragm.
It was invented in the 20s, and it can sense hand movements around its two antennae which it then translates into a ghostly, shimmering wail. It’s since been used in some of the world’s most iconic musical compositions, including pieces by classical composer Dmitri Shostakovich; albums by Led Zeppelin and the Rolling Stones; and the theme tune to Midsomer Murders.
It hasn’t, however, had a huge career in London’s live music scene, which is odd because 1) it’s cool AF to watch, and 2) there’s a subterranean cavern with incredible acoustics hiding below ground in Rotherhithe that was practically made for a theremin concert.
Thankfully, someone’s finally put two and two together.
For one night only, Retrophonica – a collective of musicians specialising in electronic instruments – will be descending into the cavern for a subterranean theremin concert. A feat of Victorian-era engineering by Isambard Kingdom Brunel and his father, the shaft was once the opening to the world’s first road tunnel beneath a river (now used, ironically, by the Overground). The hall, meanwhile, has been reborn as an atmospheric, dramatically lit, underground auditorium.
Theremin player Charlie Draper will be joined by 25 other musicians (variously playing harp, strings, flutes, trombones and grand piano) to play through epic compositions from the last 100 years, from Shostakovich to John Williams, as well as pieces written specifically for the theremin. Threaded throughout the evening, there’ll be beautiful light shows, narrators telling the story of Léon Theremin’s life; and, naturally, cocktails.
NOTE: Retrophonica’s theremin concert takes place on 13th October in Brunel’s Tunnel. Tickets cost £20, and you can book HERE.
ALSO NOTE: Retrophonica have now released more tickets for a second performance at 8.30pm – book here.
Retrophonica | Brunel Tunnel, Railway Avenue, SE16 4LF
Like unusual concerts? Listen to mystery acts in a candlelit church…
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Brunel Tunnel, Railway Avenue, Rotherhithe, SE16 4LF
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