Hi hi hi hi hi hi hi . . . . I’m here friends! Once again I let the blog lag for days. Sorrrry!! Since I’m here now I must ask you all to please refrain from sending me hostile emails and death threats, ok? <—just kidding Anyway, allow me to redeem myself with a little Music Monday. Let’s do it.
So I stopped by the Met Museum on Saturday after modeling at the National Academy. The main purpose of my visit was to see the Rembrandt self-portrait that was temporarily on view at the Met while the Kenwood House, the portrait’s regular home, undergoes renovations. Afterwards, I wandered into the Musical Instrument galleries and, as usual, I was the only person in there besides the lone museum guard who seemed bored out of his mind. I’ve been going to the Met all my life, and I’ve noticed that people neglect this section of the museum. What a shame. Given that it’s adjacent to and overlooks the very popular American Wing, means there’s even less excuse to snub this fun treasure trove.
I was struck by this fantastic looking Great Highland Bagpipe from Glasgow. Constructed of ebony, ivory, silver, leather, cane, and MacGregor tartan cloth, it seemed to command attention so I took a picture. The bagpipe is in a glass case so there are some reflections in the photo:
Another bagpipe, this one from the Brittany region of France, mid-19th century. It’s played with a double reed and commonly used in Breton folk dancing:
Since it was Rembrandt, the king of all Dutch artists, who brought me to the Met on Saturday, I thought I’d post a bagpipe painting by another Dutch artist, Hendrick ter Brugghen. From 1624, this is Bagpipe Player. I love that it’s done in a profile view. Very effective:
Bagpipes today are commonly associated with parade marches, military ceremonies, police funerals, and the like. But the instrument – or some variation of a pipe attached to a bag – has existed for centuries on many continents. The sound of bagpipes is not loved by everyone, as it tends to be harsh, high-pitched, and reedy. And it is extremely loud. In fact, bagpipes have been the subject of much ridicule over the years. Famous figures from Alfred Hitchcock to Shakespeare have all taken jabs at the bagpipes. I believe it was either Oliver Herford or William Butler Yeats who made the crack that the Irish invented the bagpipes as a joke and gave them to the Scottish, who still haven’t figured out the joke. Aww, poor bagpipes! I think it’s only fair to acknowledge that the bagpipe sound is also melodic and distinct. In a proper setting and in the hands of a skilled musician, the bagpipes are quite capable of transfixing the listener .
Let’s conclude this post with a bagpipe track. This is “Strathspey and Reel: John Roy Stewart/Thompson’s Dirk”, performed by pipe major Jim Drury and julia McGurk, from the album Highland Bagpipes.