Saturday, July 23, 2022

Brahms in Mexico

I am pleased to present this video of my June 16 performance of the Brahms "Double" concerto with my brother, violinist William Harvey, with José Luis Castillo and the Orquesta Filarmónica de Jalisco at the Teatro Degollado in Guadalajara, Mexico! The Teatro Degollado was built in 1866 during the reign of Emperor Maximilian. June 16 was the eve of our parents' 50th anniversary; the concerts were dedicated to them.

Tuesday, July 19, 2022

A speech at the UN

It is my general policy not to comment on the younger son of HRH the Prince of Wales or his wife. However I have to say that to read of someone who was born into the Royal Family moaning to the United Nations about a "global assault on democracy and freedom" as if "democracy" is self-evidently A Good Thing We Should All Cherish is depressing (though in this case not surprising) to me. As republicans in the UK will no doubt be quick to point out, he owes his wealth and fame entirely to the remnants of a system that in principle, despite the de facto supremacy of Parliament since 1688, remains profoundly non-democratic (which of course I unapologetically embrace). Democracy has nothing whatsoever to do with the fact that this individual, unlike most people, gets to address the UN. As far as I know he has never won an election, or even voted in one.

Furthermore, I respect the fact that I have friends on both sides of the abortion debate (on which I myself refuse to ever publicly weigh in), but surely anyone with any understanding of constitutional monarchy can agree that it is not an issue on which a member of the royal family (which he still technically is) should be taking a divisive stand against the beliefs of large numbers of people, particularly in the USA but also including some devout members of the Church of which his grandmother is the Supreme Governor. I am not obviously not royal, but in this case I wish he would learn to emulate my official impartiality!

However, I also detested Meghan McCain's contemptuous knee-jerk Americanist response, in which she described the majority of Americans as "monarchy-hating." Indifferent, sure, but I would hope not hating. "Hating" takes a lot of energy, which I honestly don't think most Americans invest in opposing the British Monarchy.

You can Google the relevant articles if you need to; I'm not posting links.

Tuesday, April 19, 2022

The Atlantic on Europe's non-reigning royals

I have mixed feelings about The Atlantic's new article on Europe's non-reigning royalty, focusing on Prince Leka of Albania and Archduke Karl of Austria, but it's worth reading. I for one will never give up on the dream of Restoration.

Monday, April 18, 2022

Shen Yun

Finally surrendering to its famously ubiquitous advertising, I saw Shen Yun on Saturday afternoon. I knew that the Chinese Communist regime is against them, and vice versa, and that was enough for me to be, at the very least, curious. I loved it. The dancing was some of the most spectacular I've ever seen, and an instrumental erhu soloist was impressive too. An animated electronic backdrop makes it look as if dancers are moving in between the real stage and the fantastical worlds and eras depicted on the screen. I've seen live theater and I've seen animated movies, but I've never seen them put together quite like that. Everything is beautiful and colorful, except for when evil communist characters (quite rightly depicted as dark and sinister) appear.

Most of all I found it wonderfully refreshing to see a production that unlike too many contemporary Western opera, ballet, or theater productions was not trying to "deconstruct" or "update" anything, simply an unapologetically lavish, beautiful, and proud celebration of an ancient traditional homogenous and monarchical culture: "China Before Communism." (Why can't we have more shows that do that with European culture?) While I don't necessarily agree with all of the Falun Gong (I learned that its adherents apparently prefer the name "Falun Dafa") movement's ideas, I certainly do agree with its anti-communist ones. My only criticism would be that, accustomed to ballets in which the plot is explained in detail in the program, I wasn't always sure exactly what was being pantomimed in a few of the numbers. But everything is so gorgeous to look at, with so much elegant athleticism, that that didn’t matter much. If you've ever wondered what all that advertising is about, I highly recommend Shen Yun. 

Tuesday, April 12, 2022

The Real French Choice

As France for some reason prepares for yet another presidential election, let's remember what the only real choice is. (I don't take Bonapartism very seriously, but I have a few monarchist friends who lean that way, and I do respect Prince Jean-Christophe and his genealogically splendid marriage.) 

This would be a fantastic graphic if only the numbers were correct. But it is inconsistent to count Louis XIX (1775-1844) (who might have nominally reigned for a few minutes in 1830 and was the senior Bourbon from 1836) and Louis XVII (1785-1795) (who never reigned at all but thanks to the subsequent restoration of his uncle Louis XVIII is universally counted) but not the de jure monarchs of the Orléans and Bonaparte lines. Jean should be Jean IV, in honour of his great-grandfather Jean Duke of Guise (1874-1940), who would have been "Jean III" from 1926. Meanwhile Napoleon would be Napoleon VII. ["Napoleon IV" was the Prince Imperial (1856-1879), followed by "Napoleon V" Victor (1862-1926), followed by the present pretender's grandfather "Napoleon VI" Louis (1914-1997).] I wish I knew how to do things like that.

Friday, April 1, 2022

From George II to Paul I, 1947

While this is unlikely to draw as much attention even for monarchists as the centennial of the death of the last Emperor of Austria, today is also the 75th anniversary of the death of King George II of Greece (1890-1947) and (since he was childless and divorced) the accession of his younger brother King Paul I (1901-1964). King George had had a turbulent reign (1922-24 & 1935-47), exiled first by the First Republic and then again by World War II. ("In my profession one must keep one's suitcase packed," he joked.) Reports of his death at 56 were initially thought by some to be a morbid April Fools' joke, but no, just like a very different sovereign of a very different monarchy 25 years earlier, he really did die on April 1. King Paul turned out to be the only one of the seven modern Greek kings whose reign (1947-64) began with the death of his predecessor and continued without interruption until his own death. Here is my "updated" chart of European monarchies 75 years ago, with George's and Paul's beleaguered nephew King Michael (1921-2017) still hanging on for a few months in Romania as the Iron Curtain was descending. 

King George II (1890-1947)

King Paul I (1901-1964)

Remembering Bl Karl

Today I attended a mass in honour of the centennial of the death of Emperor Bl. Karl (1887-1922) at St. Philip the Apostle Catholic Church in Flower Mound, Texas. The brand new church is one of the most attractive new churches I've seen, with expansion of the sanctuary and a new Casavant pipe organ yet to come. The celebrant was Fr. Allan Hawkins, originally from England, who had corresponded with Bl. Karl's son & heir Archduke Otto (1912-2011) for decades. It was Fr. Hawkins who in 2010 invited me to give a talk on sacred music at St. Mary the Virgin Catholic Church in Arlington, of which he was then the pastor. Not having expected until he invited me to be able to attend any events commemorating this centennial, I was very glad to be able to attend this mass, which concluded with appropriate English words to Haydn's immortal Kaiserhymne, the Habsburg imperial anthem.

Blessed Karl, pray for us!