Saturday, September 15, 2018

Summer in Russia and Britain, and a Habsburg event in Dallas

Apologies to anyone still reading this blog for my lack of activity here. There's so much I theoretically could have blogged about in recent months, particularly my July trip to Russia "In the Steps of the Romanovs" culminating in my participation in the solemn commemorations of the centennial of the murder of the Imperial Family in Ekaterinburg, but having documented my trips so thoroughly on social media I never got around to also producing a blog entry. I would like to encourage anyone curious about my experiences in Russia and Britain ("Wonders of Wales and England") to follow me on Instagram, or even if you're not an Instagram user check out my page (which unlike my Facebook is Public), and peruse my photos there (in reverse chronological order) which cover all the highlights.

Today, however, here in Texas I was reunited at the Blessed Karl Symposium at Mater Dei Catholic Church with HI&RH Princess (née Archduchess) Maria Anna Galitizine, granddaughter of Bl Karl, nearly two years after I first met her in Washington DC. I think she liked my shirt!

Tuesday, June 19, 2018


Sometimes I come across old internet posts and comments of mine. I haven't changed much. That's why it can be hard when online acquaintances go through various ideological and/or religious phases. Sometimes it means they don't want to be "Friends" anymore. This is usually guys, usually considerably younger, though I can think of one female former friend about my age to whom it applies. I think sometimes young men get interested in Monarchy--why not, it's awesome--but then when they learn that the modern world is never going to take this seriously, and Europe's contemporary royals are not going to do what they want, they either sell out and embrace "normie" politics or gravitate to more extreme ideologies that they see as "tougher." Sometimes they reject Christianity altogether; sometimes they embrace a fanatical Christianity that rejects all earthly goals dear to the hearts of traditionalists. It's sad to witness. I'm sticking with what I know is right. If that makes me a "LARPer," so be it. I'm grateful for all those who have stayed loyal and aren't budging. Monarchism Forever.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Royal Encounters in Mexico

Last week I visited my brother William in Mexico, where he has been serving as concertmaster of the Orquestra Sinfónica Nacional in Mexico City. We did a lot of fairly typical Mexican sightseeing (including Chapultepec Castle where Emperor Maximilian and Empress Carlota lived) and eating, mostly beyond the scope of this blog post, but the evening of June 6 was far from typical: a performance for HI&RH Archduke Carlos Felipe, a grandson of Emperor Bl Karl of Austria-Hungary and great-great-grandnephew of Emperor Maximilian of Mexico, at his Mexico City home, for an audience that also included his wife, his two sons, and his cousin HRH Prince Alexander Margrave of Meissen, head of the Royal House of Saxony! While I have had many special experiences as a musician, it's hard to imagine that anything could top playing Bach, Kreisler, and the Kaiserhymne for such an audience. Afterwards (as well as the day before when we were getting ready) I had ample opportunities to talk to all the royalty present, who were impeccably gracious and appreciative: a monarchist musician's dream. I felt that my brother and I got to be the latest in a long line of musicians who have performed for members of the Habsburg dynasty over the centuries. Archduke Carlos Felipe has done a great deal to rehabilitate the image of Emperor Maximilian in Mexico and it was a tremendous honour to be his guest.

With Archduke Carlos Felipe and his wife Annie-Claire in front of a portrait of Emperor Maximilian, June 5
Portraits of Maximilian & Carlota, and their piano, at Chapultepec Castle

My brother and I with Prince Alexander of Saxony, Margrave of Meissen

With Archdukes Louis-Damien and Julian
With Archduke Carlos Felipe and a portrait of his ancestor Emperor Charles V
Altar of the Kings, Mexico City Metropolitan Cathedral, June 7

Friday, June 1, 2018

Habsburg Twitter and Me

Yesterday, much to my delight, I had a light-hearted exchange with not one but two Habsburgs on Twitter. You can read about it at my friend Jovan's blog here.

Sunday, April 22, 2018


It has been fashionable lately to bemoan Americans', especially young Americans', ignorance of the Holocaust. But there's so much ignorance of history in general that I don't see these statistics as particularly surprising. I daresay that Americans, even millennials, still know more about the Holocaust than they do about many other historical topics, about which they know nothing at all. In fact as a classical musician and as one who loves the authentic Germany of many centuries before 1918, I resent it that most bookstores' "Germany" history shelves tend to be dominated by books about the Nazis, as if 1933-45 were the only twelve years in all of German history that matter.

However little millennials know about Nazi atrocities, I bet they know even less about numerically greater Communist atrocities, which is why the work of the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation (even if I disagree with its Americanist orientation) is so important. So yes, history education needs to be improved, but in all areas, not just this area. I was lucky in that I had an excellent 9th grade world history teacher, and read a lot on my own, but many were probably not that fortunate, and why do high schools require only one year of non-US history?

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Poulenc and the Real France

I would like to quote, in French and then in English, a stanza from "Litanies à la Vierge noire" by Francis Poulenc (1899-1963), sung beautifully tonight in Dallas by the choristers of St. Paul's Cathedral. My friend Charles A. Coulombe has written about the difference between the "Pays Legal" and the "Pays Reel." I was powerfully struck by how this text reflects the real France, which still lives, barely, in spite of 225+ years of madness.

Reine du sanctuaire,
que consacra Saint Martial,
et où il célébra ses saints mystères.
Reine, près de laquelle s'agenouilla Saint Louis
vous demandant le bonheur de la France,
priez pour nous.
Reine, à qui Roland consacra son épée,
priez pour nous.
Reine, dont la bannière gagna les batailles,
priez pour nous.
Reine, dont la main délivrait les captifs,
priez pour nous.

Queen of the sanctuary,
which Saint Martial consecrated
and where he celebrated his holy mysteries.
Queen, before whom knelt Saint Louis
asking of you good fortune for France,
pray for us.
Queen, to whom Roland consecrated his sword,
pray for us.
Queen, whose banner won the battles,
pray for us.
Queen, whose hand delivered the captives,
pray for us.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018


The owner of these wonderful images of flags and heads of state in the world in 1909 kindly gave me permission to use them on a page at my website, so here it is, for all your Edwardian nostalgia needs. I realized while making it that this series of cards can be quite precisely dated: to between March 4, when William Howard Taft became President, and April 27, when Sultan Abdul Hamid II was deposed.
I didn't feel like adding all the other republics (mostly in Latin America). Maybe I'll look up their presidents and add them eventually, but I think it's fine this way. France, Mexico, and the USA were pretty much the only republics that really mattered then anyway. (Well, OK, Switzerland, but their President doesn't. Can you name the current President of Switzerland? I didn't think so.)

Note that the Kings of the United Kingdom & Romania and the Emperor of Japan lack their own images but are pictured in the 1908 postcard at the bottom of the page.
I think what I love so much about Belle Époque Europe (1871-1914) is that it was modern enough not to seem completely foreign to us today, yet traditional enough that royal families with their roots in the early Middle Ages remained at least nominally sovereign in most countries, and Modernity was limited enough that when you wanted to get away from it you could. Unlike earlier eras, they had trains, they had photography, they had widely and easily circulated newspapers and magazines, the telegraph allowed for long distance communication, and the symphony orchestra existed in its modern form, with most of the repertoire considered standard today already written. Standardized time zones, borders, flags, and anthems were firmly established. But in rural areas and small villages, life continued much as it had for centuries. Both the Anglican and Roman Catholic Churches remained firmly rooted in their traditional liturgy. Not everyone whose ancestors had belonged to them still believed in them, but those who did go to church could be confident they were getting the same religion. It was possible (probably for the last time) to be both a conservative with a firm belief in Monarchy as the best form of government and confident in the future of Western Civilisation.