YourClassical Adventures

The Mysterious Glass Armonica

French musician Thomas Bloch demonstrates a glass harmonica before an orchestra rehearsal in Los Angeles in 2014.Joe Klamar/AFP via Getty Images

YourClassical Adventures: Episode 80 - The Glass Armonica


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April 09, 2022

There is a strange instrument that was once believed to have magical powers. Join host Liz Lyon as we learn a little about the history of the glass armonica and listen to music composed for this unique instrument.

Episode 80 Glass Armonica

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Adagio for Glass Armonica — In the last year of Mozart’s life, he composed this piece for the glass armonica, which has been referred to as one of unearthly beauty.

LISTEN — Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Adagio for Glass Armonica

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Adagio for Glass Armonica

Johann Abraham Peter Schulz: Largo — There were many rumors surrounding the glass armonica. In Germany, some towns actually banned the instrument. Here is a piece written for it by German composer Johann Abraham Peter Schulz.

LISTEN — Johann Abraham Peter Schulz: Largo

Johann Abraham Peter Schulz: Largo

James Horner: Spock — The glass armonica also is sometimes referred to as the bowl organ. It produces ethereal sounds and when paired with the harp, composer James Horner thought it created the perfect theme for Spock in the Star Trek movie The Wrath of Khan.

LISTEN — James Horner: Spock

James Horner: Spock

Carter Burwell: The Glass Armonica — Carter Burwell is best known for his work as a film composer. He wrote this piece for the glass armonica to accompany the movie Mr. Holmes, which portrays the famous literary detective Sherlock Holmes in his old age.

LISTEN — Carter Burwell: The Glass Armonica

Carter Burwell: The Glass Armonica

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