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I just found out that Paul Hindemith wrote a piece for three Trautoniums (Trautonia? Trautonium? However you would pluralize it, the video won't embed.)

Here's a wikipedia article, and here's a demonstration of the instrument:
This is a longer video with more about the instrument. It's in German, but if you click on the cc icon you can see subtitles in German, which might help. Alfred Hitchcock makes a photo appearance regarding "The Birds" at 3:50, at 4:02 we get an interview with Harald Genzmer.

Vyacheslav Mescherin and his Elektronik Orchestra


With its twinkling synths, soaring theremins and surprisingly funky basslines there is nothing quite like the Soviet lounge music of Vyacheslav Mescherin and his Elektronik Orchestra. 

The life and times of Vyacheslav Valerianovich Mescherin are shrouded in mystery, few concrete facts penetrate the miasma of doubt and confusion conjured in the Soviet era. We know that he fought for the Soviet Union in the Second World War and received the Order of the Red Star ‘for courage’, presumably for reasons of war rather than the composing of a kind of proto-muzak.

We know that a young Vyacheslav put his warring days behind him by enrolling at Gnessin State Musical College before working in public radio broadcasting. The details are especially hazy at this point so let’s fast-forward to 1957 when Mescherin founded the orchestra that would bear his name, the (ahem…) Vyacheslav Mescherin Orchestra. Despite its conventionally dull name this was from its outset no ordinary orchestra. Armed with a plurality of electronic instruments including accordions, violins and mandolins to be played alongside Russian synthesisers and the mighty theremin (only the drums were acoustic), the orchestra scored an immediate hit with a futuristic adaptation of an Estonian folk song ‘On the Kolkhoz Poulty Farm’. The song was soon adopted as the theme tune for the popular 1970s Soviet children’s cartoon ‘The Wolf and the Hare’. To this day if you hum its wobbly tune in the company of any Russians over the age of 40 you’re likely to be greeted with a chorus of nostalgic chirruping. 

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