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Moscow Nights

Crystal Trio is a unique group that performs various music using special glass instruments: Glass Harp, Verrophone and Glass Pan Flute sounding like bass. There are three professional musicians in the band: Igor Sklyarov, Vladimir Perminov and Vladimir Popras.

Igor Sklyarov tells:

“I got acquainted with the glass music already in 1998. One my colleague and friend demonstrated me a new musical instrument that looked like… a set of crystal glasses. “Can you play music with this set?” — I thought. But behind the outside simplicity mystery was hidden: having passed with my finger by the soft glass edge of one of the glasses I suddenly heard unusual — tender and singing — sound. It melted quickly leaving the feeling of magic. I touched the next glass: the sound was the same, but of a different tone. Glasses in the set were sorted out and tuned in such a way that together they compiled a crystal keyboard. You could play anything with it and every melody, modern or classical, acquired special “crystal” sounding.

I was charmed and firmly decided to collect such an instrument myself — as it was impossible to buy it in a musical salon in contrast to a grand piano or violin. Some weeks later, going through the city Gus Khrustalny I went to the glass market. Going form one counter to another I started to derive sounds of the sets there and could not stop already. Sellers from the farthest rows came to look at a crank playing the glasses. Everybody was bringing the packages: “Play mine, they are better!” When in two hours I was leaving the market I had four the most “sounding” sets of glasses in my hands. They became the basis of my first crystal harmonica.

To master the elements of playing even such an unusual instrument was not difficult for a professional musician. Much more time and efforts were necessary to reveal the character, soul of the instrument. I found out that the history of the glass instruments counted several centuries. Once “crystal” melodies pleased the hearings by the Royal Households and closed aristocratic salons. But then crystal harmonica was forgotten and only at the end of the previous century some performers — including us — applied to it again. And we were discovering the new and new planes of this unusual instrument independently and experimentally.

And first of all it seemed that usual glasses do not give all the fullness of sounding. But where should we take the special, “sounding” ones?.. Fortunately, in Germany we met a wonderful master who was like us fascinated by the glass music. His name is Sascha Reckert. It was he who became the author of our Glass Harp and later and the second unique instrument — Verrophone. It was funny to see the reaction of my close people when I told them that that “table set” cost like an automobile, about five thousand euros. However, the glasses cost this money: ideally tuned, they gave exactly that sound that we were dreaming of.

That we were on the right way was confirmed by the praising reaction of the listeners in Russia, Europe, Japan. We were paid attention to and invited to concerts and festivals. And every performance, whether it was a corporative evening or a small concert in the streets of Venice, was an extra lesson for us. We sow how the sounds of crystal reflected in the people’s eyes, how the atmosphere changes, and brought changes into the manner of performing, into the repertoire.

In 2005, the third instrument was added to the Glass Harp and Verrophone. It was the Glass Pan Flute that was created by our colleague Ilya Usatuk and later was completed by Vladimir Perminov. The flute gave pleasant bass sound. It made the sounding of the band deeper and richer.

Today we are the Crystal Trio. The Glass Flute part is performed by Vladimir Perminov, Vladimir Popras is a virtuoso of the Verrophone. I, Igor Sklyarov, play the Glass Harp. Our fingers know every inch of glass verges, but instruments never stop surprise us. The fairy-tails tell the truth: crystal has some magic inside. Perhaps, it`s the recollection of those times, when our universe was gathered of the smallest crystals and the very first melody sounded in the space void.”