A confounded box of whistles
March 10, 2017 4:21 AM   Subscribe

Robert Götzfried has taken some amazing photographs of church organs.

Similarly symmetric compositions of pools, bowling alleys and cinemas are equally delightful.
posted by Stark (15 comments total) 27 users marked this as a favorite
Cool photos, thanks for posting these!
posted by carter at 5:04 AM on March 10, 2017

These are stunning. The bowling alleys are also very, very cool. How do i put money towards this guy directing a movie that takes place in a bowling alley in 1987?
posted by FirstMateKate at 5:52 AM on March 10, 2017 [2 favorites]

I've long wished I could reconcile my love for the physical beauty of pipe organs with my utter disdain for the sound the things make. Alas, tis not to be.
posted by Thorzdad at 6:20 AM on March 10, 2017 [1 favorite]

"When an organ plays it reminds us of the majesty of God, and when it stops it reminds us of the grace of God."
posted by traveler_ at 7:07 AM on March 10, 2017 [7 favorites]

I totally love pipe organs and the sound they make. This reminds me of the Cryptonomicon hahahaha.
posted by Annika Cicada at 7:35 AM on March 10, 2017

Is it the sound or the composition? There was a weekly evening service a a cathedral in Seattle that all the stoners would attend and if you were in the know the organ recital after the service would let folks up into the loft. So Bach is always great and other pieces can be pretty but there was this one by Buxtehude that started kinda regular but then just exploded/splattered all across the spectrum, just truly intense. But I never learned the specific piece and have not had the patience to work through the Buxtehude works to find out if it was real or the organist jamming.
posted by sammyo at 8:03 AM on March 10, 2017 [1 favorite]

I wish he said what/where the organs are.
posted by ApathyGirl at 9:04 AM on March 10, 2017

There is a seriously weird pipe organ in Reykjavik's tallest building, the Hallgrimskirkja Church.
posted by kozad at 9:43 AM on March 10, 2017

seriously weird pipe organ in Reykjavik's tallest building

That's gorgeous. If I'm in Iceland, that church will be a must-visit for me.

If you are interested in organs closer to home, you might be able to look up a nearby Guild of Organists; there's one in San Jose, Calif., with an "Area Organs" page.
posted by kurumi at 9:56 AM on March 10, 2017

My mother was a church organist, and I would often go around with her to various churches and noodle on the organ while she was tending to some organizational chores. So many stops to tinker with! Great fun. Anyway there was an incident one time which I will not describe except to say it involved the riff to Crazy Train and my not knowing precisely what the word "carillon" actually meant.
posted by Wolfdog at 10:39 AM on March 10, 2017 [4 favorites]

Everything I know about pipe organs (and Vickers machine guns) I learned from Cryptonomicon. Fascinating stuff.
posted by CaseyB at 11:53 AM on March 10, 2017

WOW that Iceland church looks like something out of LOTR!! Gorgeous.
posted by I_Love_Bananas at 1:00 PM on March 10, 2017

I love that the D in IN EXELSIS DEO is a little off. Love me some pipe organs. When I was little I used to play Bach's Little Fugue in G Minor over and over and over again.
posted by klanawa at 3:14 PM on March 10, 2017

seriously weird pipe organ in Reykjavik's tallest building

The horizontal pipes are stops en chamade. Neither universal nor unusual on large organs, they are dramatic in appearance and seriously loud.
posted by musicinmybrain at 4:12 PM on March 10, 2017 [1 favorite]

The organ pipes at Hallgrimskirkja were recently cleaned. That effort took several months (six, iirc), using very specialized labour, and I was fortunate to be in Reykjavik in 2014 when the organ was juuuust back in operation. Every day at noon there was a concern by local musicians as well as invited guests from other lands. We sat in the pews and listened to music ranging from Bach to contemporary classical pieces.

"At the beginning of 2013 representatives from the Klais Orgelbau in Bonn arrived in Iceland to clean the organ and renew various pieces of hardware, worn due to much strain. During this process all 5.273 organ pipes had to be removed. This presented an excellent opportunity for modifications on the organ’s computer equipment, called for by new technology and increased demands. At the completion of this extensive project it can be said that the Klaisorgan in Hallgrímskirkja is as new, every pipe has been polished and retuned and the organs electronic operating system has been updated, with many fascinating new possibilities."

What surprises me at Hallgrimskirkja is the pews' orientation. It is possible to switch the backrest from angling back to angling forward - enabling the person to sit facing the altar (during mass) or facing the organ (during a concert).

By the way, when you are at the church, make sure you go up the steeple. For a modest fee you will get a million dollar view of Reykjavik as well as of the surrounding waters and mountains as well.
posted by seawallrunner at 3:02 PM on March 11, 2017

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