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  • Cristal: Glass Music Through the Ages
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Cristal: Glass Music Through the Ages


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Audio CD, January 15, 2002
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Product Details

  • Performer: armonica/cristal baschet Dennis James, Emerson String Quartet, David August von Apell, Garry Eister, Gabriel Faure, et al.
  • Audio CD (January 15, 2002)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Sony
  • ASIN: B00005UT2L
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #158,505 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Irish Lullaby
2. Quintet For Glass & Strings: Dance
3. Quintet For Glass & Strings: Song
4. Quintet For Glass & Strings: Brisk
5. Non Temere Alma Immortale - Linda Ronstadt
6. Allegro
7. Caprice
8. Pavane, Op.50 - Ruth Ann Swenson
9. Largo In G Minor
10. O Cessate Di Piagarmi - Linda Ronstadt
11. Adagio In C Major, K.356
12. Adagio And Rondo In C Major, K.617: I. Adagio
13. Adagio And Rondo In C Major, K.617: II. Rondo
14. Cantate 'L'armonica' (Excerpts): Recit Accompagne - Adagio
15. Cantate 'L'armonica' (Excerpts): Air - Andantino
16. Petite Impression

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com

The haunting, ethereal tone of the glass armonica, which was invented by Ben Franklin in 1761, was said to drive its players insane. On Cristal, Dennis James risks madness as he surveys three centuries of music composed for Franklin's armonica, and two other glass instruments called the seraphim and the cristal baschet. Most of the selections date from the armonica's first period of popularity, which started in the late 1700s and ended in the 1830s, and include compositions by Hasse, Apell, Scmittbauer, a composer who also made armonicas, and Mozart, who composed the Adagio and Rondo for armonica just weeks before he died. James is joined on the Mozart piece by the Emerson String Quartet, who also play on Garry Eister's Quintet for Glass and Strings, one of the few 20th century pieces written for armonica. Cristal was produced by Linda Rondstadt, who also sings a duet with Ruth Ann Swenson on a lovely arrangement of Fauré's Pavane. Ronstadt wisely avoids trying to turn this into a pop crossover and instead lets the fragile beauty of the music speak for itself. --Michael Simmons

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Erik North on January 18, 2002
Format: Audio CD
Have you ever wanted to know how it's possible for music to be produced with glasses? The new album CRISTAL, with featured artist Dennis James on Cristal Baschet, Seraphim, and most prominently Glass Armonica, demonstrates it very well.
With help from members of the L.A. Opera, the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, soprano Ruth Ann Swenson and the album's co-producer Linda Ronstadt (although this is not, repeat NOT, a Linda Ronstadt solo album), James spins the musical glasses for some eerie effects that are both ancient and Space Age. The CD includes the Adagio and Rondo In C Major for Glass Armonica, composed by Mozart in the final weeks of his life, as well as the new Quintet for Glass and Strings by Garry Eister. Swenson and Ronstadt also sing an arrangement, made by Eister, of Gabriel Faure's celebrated "Pavane", accompanied by James and the Emerson String Quartet.
How this album impresses probably depends on the listener's ability to adjust to the strange sounds of the glass instruments, which sound nothing like synthesizers. It won't be easy for some. But for those who are adventuresome enough, CRISTAL is worthy of your attention
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Kevin Green on January 15, 2002
Format: Audio CD
Who would ever think that instruments invented by Benjamin Franklin around the time of the Declaration of Independence would be the hottest CD on the market. The sounds coming from these instruments, played with great aplumb by the talented Dennis James, are otherworldly. There is no description of how the glass armonica sounds (and the other glass instruments also used)...think of the ding you hear when hitting a crystal glass...how pure it is. Mozart specifically wrote pieces for this one instrument! This purity purveys this disk.
The guests add class and pizazz. Classical soprano Ruth Ann Swenson has a truly beautiful instrument. French singer Veronique Dietsche shines. The Emerson String Quartet personify quality and ability. The big event on this disk is the classical singing of Linda Ronstadt. Her high Soprano with a spectactular mezzo soprano/alto chest voice separates her from classical singers. While lacking the fullness of an opera singer at the top of her range, her voice approximates the sound of the glass instuments she is singing to. It is reminiscent of Ella Fitzgerald creating Scat singing to emulate Jazz. It is that amazing.
This is an event not to be missed!
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By jfvoros on March 20, 2002
Format: Audio CD
You must hear this CD to believe it. The glass armonica and other glass instruments produce, in the hands of Dennis James, an otherworldly resonance that seems almost mesmerizing. Of particular note are Garry Eister's "Quintet for Glass & Strings" and his exquisite arrangement of Faure's "Pavane." Though classical clear through, this CD should appeal to fans of Ronstandt as well as Faure.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Dean Shannon on August 22, 2006
Format: Audio CD
While I have enjoyed other performers renditions of some of the songs (Mozart K. 356, K 617; Apell 'Non temere alme immortale') as performed by Thomas Bloch, there are some songs on this album that make it worth it. The arrangement of Fauré's Pavane Op. 50 is amazing. That track alone is worth buying the album. In addition Quintet for Glass and Strings by Garry Eister is a very good set. If you are new to glass harmonica I would recommend Thomas Bloch's album entitled 'Glass Harmonica' under the Naxos label.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Reformed Packrat on June 1, 2004
Format: Audio CD
I wasn't sure what to expect. The novelty of this instrument passed quickly. And soon I was absorbed by the music. "Glass Music," as they call it, adds an etheral quality to these classical pieces. But it doesn't detract. And the accompaniment is top notch. My favorite parts were the guest vocalists. And Linda Ronstadt, who has already proven herself in the classical world, blends in effortlessly with her voice. You don't stop and think, "Oh my goodness. That's Linda Ronstadt singing." She sounds like any of the other pros on the album. And could possibly be segue-ing into a comfortable classical career from here (hasn't that always been her destiny?) Let me wrap up and say that I was enchanted by this music. (And Dennis James, please record more.)
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By J. Braun on May 2, 2007
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Great Music - for relaxing, calming atmosphere- just feeling better about the world in general!
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