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Classical 101

Music From Crystal Clear Glass

Yesterday I had a trip down memory lane...America's and mine...and I took three family members along for the ride. One of Colonial Williamsburg's foremost musicians, Dean Shostak, presented a multimedia concert on instruments made of glass. Yes - fragile, clear, breakable glass. He began with Benjamin Franklin's glass armonica (without the "h") and moved to a modern-day invention called the cristal baschet. It was entertaining, informative, enriching, and just plain darn fun. Where else can you go to see a man dressed in colonial garb having the time of his life demonstrating and explaining the history of glass instruments? I was having  just about the same amount of enjoyment sitting in the audience. Many years ago while working on my master's degree at Ohio State in music history, I came across a reference to Franklin's glass armonica. My curiosity about it eventually led me to my thesis topic, "Francis Hopkinson Smith and His Grand Harmonicon." Imagine my delight in hearing Dean Shostak perform on one of these glass sets during his concert. Compared to other sets made by Smith, the wooden case and stand on this one is simple in design. But no matter, for it has a complete set of glasses. Glass Armonica http://www.wosu.org/audio/classical/2009/glass-armonica.mp3