24 April 2009

architectural form

Chip was right... it is quite telling that amongst the renderings and floor plans for the Eastman Theatre addition (still questionably called "completing George Eastman's vision"), a full photo of Doug Lowry takes center stage. A highly architectural photo, I might add.

22 April 2009

Rock The Bells

Thanks to Seth, I now know of the classic "Rock the Bells" (released when I was three) as well as the eponymous festival, which is coming to San Francisco. There must be room for a traveling carillon in there somewhere.

17 April 2009

Tower iconography

Artist Ji Lee is photographing all the logo representations of the WTC around New York (storefront signs, truck logos, printed shopping bags, etc.) before they gradually disappear. What a tremendous project.

I've always thought it would be an endless project to collect all the things that depict the carillon towers I've played (just try searching in ebay on "Harkness Tower" over the course of a few weeks and you'll see it never ends), since towers tend to be a strong informal aspect of the graphic identity of universities. It's a luxury to be able to buy memorabilia for your instrument that you never had to commission. But what a peculiar link -- I always assumed that the carillon tower is different from other towers, but this semester in Steven Feld's class I've been realizing how conceptually related it is to all sorts of other towers. The semblance of the belfry to lighthouses particularly excited me while Andrew and I were at Point Reyes. Which leads me back to my fascination with ephemera... there are plenty of postcards on which all these tower typologies are depicted (did Walker Evans collect any?). Other collections of towers, such as those by Bernd + Hilla Becher, have had a significant cultural impact too. I can think of quite varied academic disciplines that could be interested in Ji Lee's archive of logos and Evans' massive postcard collection, from visual studies to geography. How does the carillon play into all of this? Feld mentioned that someone wrote a history of high buildings. Time to look it up.

A number of my seemingly unrelated curiosities have started to merge, albeit bumpily, into a convoluted train of thought. Perhaps some meanings will emerge from it soon.

07 April 2009

O Haupt voll Blut und Wunden

Palm Sunday's service was the most beautiful I've played at St. Joseph. The congregation sang the final hymn, which Bach used for the St Matthew Passion, in harmony, and that hymn moves me more than any other. I don't often think of myself as a church organist, but if every service were like that, I wouldn't mind it at all.

There is an interesting carillon event coming up:

A Special Program including Lou Reed’s “A Perfect Day”
The Riverside Church, 91 Claremont Avenue (at 120th Street), New York City
April 30, 2009 at 11:30am-12:30pm

The Riverside Church carillon is the largest in the world and made partly by Dutch craftsmen. On Koninginnedag, it will be called into service by the Dutch mastercarillonneur Sjoerd Tamminga, who has played “A Perfect Day” by Lou Reed for the past ten years in at the Maria Magdelena Church in Goes. This will be the finale to a series of carillon performances beginning in the Netherlands earlier in the day and ending at The Riverside Church at noon, where Lou Reed will be in attendance.

It reminds me of Doug Henderson's bell installation, Requiem for a Penny (2005). They both seem to imagine a worldwide synchronicity and sounding of bells for a "third listener" up in space.