Thursday, January 31, 2013

Pipes, pots, and espionage

Almost every weekday from 12:30-1:30pm, an organist is in Duke Chapel playing a demonstration recital on the Flentrop, Aeolian, or Brombaugh organ. A friend and I are privileged to share the Tuesday organ demo slot; each week, we trade off who plays and who turns pages/pulls stops.

This past Tuesday, my friend played was Bach's 5-part fugue, "Kyrie, Gott heiliger Geist," BWV 671. That was the first piece I ever played on the Flentrop some six or so years ago; my organ teacher had decided I needed to feel the weight of the piece on a large tracker organ rather than on the humble 8-stop Walker I play at work. Hearing the piece again on Tuesday made me sentimental for the exhilaration of that first ride.

It turned out that the Wednesday organist couldn't play this week, so I took the subbing opportunity and played the Kyrie. I brought my flip camera to see if it would capture the immensity of the sound. It did a decent job under the circumstances (under the manuals, on the floor), though the massive pedal pipes don't shine through the mush at all. For the record, I get nervous when I know I'm being watched, even if it's only by a camera aimed at my feet; this comes through in the performance, yet given how tense my ankles were, my feet look surprisingly boring (spiffy striped socks excluded).

In pottery news, I'm delighted that a photo of one of my teapots was accepted for Lark's second volume of 500 Teapots, due out in August 2013. I actually don't know which teapot, since I submitted two with the same mellifluous title ("Untitled, 2009"), but it'll be one of these two:

In other news, we took a trip to Washington, D.C., over winter break. One of the many museums we visited was the International Spy Museum, where the signs admonished us not to take photographs. At the same time, the exhibits featured multiple real-life spy cameras that had enabled undercover agents to discretely capture intelligence on film. Rebel that I am, I was consequently inspired to snap some illicit photos inside the museum. Of course, I can probably say farewell to a career in espionage after posting the images here, but so it goes.