I needed a bit of a pick me up yesterday. Summer has hit full tilt, which means I am alternately being smothered with heat and humidity when outdoors or frozen by overzealous AC when inside. The constant temperature swings have this way of putting me in a foul mood. (And I am not the only one who feels like she’s working in a meat locker – the other day I overheard one of the circulation desk workers at the library tell her colleague that she was going outside for a minute to warm up. I saw her later. She meant it – she was sitting there in the sun on the concrete lip of the fountain in the quad, with her eyes closed.)
So, I spent yesterday evening listening to a recording of Kevin Bowyer playing some of Bach’s keyboard music. Bowyer is an organist. I am not usually one to leap up and down shrieking with joy at the thought of an organ recital – my experience with big church organs in the past has tended to range from “this is a little too ecclesiastical for my taste” to “this is really rather excruciatingly loud and perhaps it might stop soon.” (Little organs, the sort that are more of a sweet little toot! toot! accompanying a violin – as one does in some of Biber’s violin sonatas – or as part of a chamber ensemble, are fine. I guess that would be a calliope?)
However, I really did enjoy listening to this. Bowyer gets such a wonderful variety of sounds out of the instrument, everything from “this is an organ but I will tell you no more than that” to “underwater glass harmonica” (during the fugue in BWV 565 – this was one of my favorite bits) to “it’s not a kitten gamboling cutely across the keyboard – it’s the beginning of BWV 572!” to “TURN IT DOWN NOW BEFORE YOUR CAR ALARM GOES OFF.” It’s pretty fun.