On Friday 23 September the librarian of Congress, Carla Hayden,Lizzo inviting her to play Madison’s 1813 crystal flute, which sits among the library’s collection of flutes – the largest in the world, comprising more than 1,800 flutes. “Like your song they are ‘Good as hell’,” she joked.
Lizzo replied with gusto: “I’m coming Carla! And I’m playing that crystal flute!!!!!”
On 27 September, Lizzo took to the stage with the dazzling historical item, first playing a single note to display its crystal clear tone, before branching out with a trill.
The flute originally belonged to James Madison, America’s fourth President from 1809 to 1817, who wrote The Federalist Papers with Alexander Hamilton and John Jay.
It was one of only two flutes made of crystal, and came from the workshop of Parisian flute-maker, Claude Laurent. According to an engraving on the silver panel that joins the headjoint to the body, the flute was made in 1813, specifically for James Madison.
As Lizzo coined on stage: “History is freaking cool, you guys!”