The story begins around 1760 in London. Benjamin Franklin invents a magical instrument and calls it the glass armonica.
His new “glass machine” is euphorically celebrated in the concert halls of Europe and goes on to play
an indispensible role in European musical culture.
Mozart paid homage to the glass armonica in his final piece of chamber music; Haydn, Salieri and many others also composed works for this unique instrument. In 1835, Gaetano Donizetti’s opera Lucia di Lammermoor has its premiere. Donizetti had originally planned to have the glass armonica accompany the heroine’s “mad scenes”, but no musicians to play the instrument could be found. The glass armonica’s splendid age was slowly drawing to a close. Only Richard Strauss remembered this musical treasure. In 1919, he featured the glass armonica in his opera Die Frau ohne Schatten.
Fortunately in the 21st century, the glass armonica is dazzling once again.
Whether in the Royal Albert Hall in London, in Vienna’s Musikverein and Staatsoper, at the Salzburg Festival, in the Konzerthaus Berlin, Suntory Hall in Tokyo, the Elbphilharmonie Hamburg or Kennedy Center Washington, the glass armonica is making a comeback in the world’s concert halls and opera houses.
This Renaissance of the glass armonica is closely linked to the artistic career of the Viennese Glass Armonica Duo. Since 25 years Christa and Gerald have been striving intensively to ensure that music from singing glass has returned for good.
Whether performing in the Royal Albert Hall London, Wiener Musikverein, Konzerthaus Berlin, playing at Salzburger Festpiele,
Menuhin Festival Gstaad, Suntory Hall Tokyo, Elbphilharmonie Hamburg or Kennedy Center Washington,
their playing on glass is enthraling, fascinating and deeply touching.