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Discus 32CD – Beatrix Ward-Fernandez – Trio
£10 (or part of 3CDs for £21) from www.discus-music.co.uk
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Beatrix Ward-Fernandez – theremin
Derek Saw – brass
Charlie Collins – percussion
In mid 2006, when Beatrix Ward-Fernandez first discussed the recording of this CD with percussionist Charlie Collins, it was decided that the other instruments would have to be brass.

The combination of electronics and brass is, in 20thC music, as classic as the string quartet or piano trio in earlier musics. From the early experiments of Varese, on through Xenakis monumental compositions to Muhal Richard Abrams, Leo Smith and the AACM of the present day, there is a vitality and “rightness” to the sound.

But Beatrix’ intention was not to simply carry on these experiments. She wanted to incorporate the myriad influences that have made her playing what it is today, and for this she needed multiple brass and an enormous palette – enter Derek Saw.

The bulk of these tracks were recorded September 2007, intended for release on David Vessell’s ill-fated Purple Note label.

They were recorded live in real time, a technique utilised partly because it was thought it would better convey the sonic possibilities of the Theremin, without studio trickery, but also because it could encapsulate the almost telepathic interplay between the musicians. This is a “working” group and it should be made to do so.

The Theremin we hear here is not just a “novelty” instrument. It’s use in what is essentially an acoustic group amply demonstrates its subtleties: and Beatrix’ almost organic approach to her Moog Etherwave Pro.

From pure abstraction to lopsided jazz grooves: from middle eastern drumming to AACM eclecticism: the theremin finally gets to speak it’s own language. And wail a little!


Beatrix Ward-Fernandez is generally considered one of the world’s leading young thereminists.

Born in London and raised in Cadiz, Southern Spain, she began classical violin training on her return to England. Residing in Sheffield, her interest in experimental and improvised musics led almost inevitably to her involvement in the fertile local creative scene, playing violin and castanets!
Long attracted to the sound of the Theremin, she became fascinated with the possibilities it presented. It seemed to her that there had been little or no exploration of its integration and use within acoustic/experimental ensembles. Developing new techniques to meet the demands of these musics became an abiding interest.

Over the past few years she has recorded and/or performed with a vast number of creative artists, including Martin Archer, Mick Beck, Pat Thomas, J.D. Parran, Phillip Thomas, Jez riley French, Pleasure-Drenching Improvers, Damo Suzuki, Chris Corsano and Okkyung Lee. In July 2007 she performed with her regular trio of Derek Saw and Charlie Collins at the Theremin symposium “Hands Off”.

She continues to work with Collins on a number of projects, including The Navigators (with guitarist John Jasnoch), Swift are the Winds of Life (with violinist Yvonna Magda) and the improvising/noise group The Other Orchestra.

She is also a member of Mick Beck’s improvising big band The Gated Community, as well as numerous ad-hoc ensembles.