Thursday, February 22, 2024
Thursday, February 15, 2024
...that would probably cause too much trouble if I actually put it on Facebook so I'm putting it here since hardly anyone reads my blog anymore anyway.
Just so you know, no one on either side of the fake American political spectrum is ever going to get anywhere with me by appealing to Democracy. I hate Democracy. And I will not be voting for either of those two annoying old men and there is nothing you can say to change my mind.
Democracy means accepting that wicked parties like the Scottish National Party and Sinn Fein can hold office. I don't accept that. I hate them. I don't like it that I have to put up with whatever the majority of voters in any part of the United Kingdom decide and I never get a say. I know more and care more about British history than most people in Britain. I have British flags and decor all over my home including a portrait of HM The King over the fireplace. I should get my way, not stupid people who live there and think that Sadiq Khan's idiotic new London Overground names are acceptable.
I am mildly on the autistic spectrum (in case you haven't figured that out) and the British Monarchy is my Special Interest and I do not accept that anyone in the UK has the right to try to take it away from me, ever, just because they live there and I don't. I don't give a damn about republicans' "human rights." Anti-monarchists are garbage and I am not ashamed of how much I hate them because I know God hates them too. If that makes me selfish and evil so be it. At least I'm not a republican. There is nothing worse than being a small-r republican.
Thursday, January 4, 2024
Friday, September 8, 2023
Today we remember the one and only Queen Elizabeth II on the first anniversary of her death.I remember waking up a year ago to the news that she was under medical supervision at Balmoral. I posted the 1662 BCP prayer for the Sovereign. Actually she had probably already passed away by then, and being frequently online I saw the news a few hours later as soon as The Royal Family page posted it. Stunned and shaken, I didn’t cry yet, though I would later.
Queen Elizabeth II had seemed eternal. An institution in her own right who had been on the throne since my parents were little children. Old enough to remember the difficult 1990s, I saw her grow more radiant and joyous as she aged, as if the fairytale lustre of the young Queen had somehow been magnified in a different way. There was something so comforting about images of the Queen. While not “ruling” as her ancestors did, she was a benign authority figure not only for her official subjects in 15 countries, but also for those of us in other countries who looked to her as the sentimental focus of our earthly allegiance, a far more satisfactory head of state than any president could ever be.
One paradox of Queen Elizabeth II was that she was simultaneously both timeless and of her time, a living link to a very different past yet surprisingly adaptable, letting her delightful mischievous sense of humour show more as she aged as seen in the 2012 Olympics and 2022 Jubilee videos.
Occasionally tabloids would claim that the Queen was “furious” over some real or alleged “violation of protocol.” But that wasn’t who she was at all. To the contrary her grandson Prince William said in an interview that she loved it when something went wrong at official occasions so that she and Prince Philip could laugh about it later.
While she had access to grand palaces suitable for the performance of her duties, her private tastes were simple, less grand than many celebrities. She kept leftover cereal in Tupperware, put on a sweater rather than turning up the heat, and was never happier than when in the countryside with her dogs and horses. Now she is in a different and better countryside where there is no more duty, only joy.
We miss her. I miss her. But the Monarchy to which she devoted her life continues under the different but equally dutiful stewardship of her son and successor King Charles, who I have long admired in his own right. The best way to honour her memory is to support him as he serves what are now his realms and to emulate her devotion to duty in our own lives, whatever our duties may be, in my case to the Symphony.
Unlike so many people, I never got to meet her, though at least I saw her in person a few times. But I like to think she knew how many millions of people loved her, even if it was surprising for her in her humility, and she knows even more fully now. Remember the Queen. God Save the King. 🇬🇧
Thursday, July 27, 2023
A lot of great figures in classical music have held political views diametrically opposed to mine. Beethoven's admiration of the "ideals" of the French Revolution is well known, though he had many aristocratic friends and patrons. Wagner, before he discovered that the support of the King of Bavaria could be useful to him, was a supporter of the Revolutions of 1848 and was a wanted man in Saxony for a time. Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov (1844-1908) disliked his former mentor Mily Balakirev's pious Orthodox monarchist conservatism, was critical of the Tsarist regime towards the end of his life, and sympathised with student protests against it. Conductor Arturo Toscanini (1867-1957), who according to Norman Lebrecht had only turned against Mussolini when it became clear that Mussolini would not abolish the Italian monarchy, said after World War II that he would not return to Italy as long as the House of Savoy were still reigning. Cellist Pablo Casals (1876-1973), despite having owed his early training to the generosity of Queen Maria Cristina (1858-1929), supported the Spanish Republic that ousted her son Alfonso XIII.Of today's classical musicians, I've heard that one very well-known British conductor is privately a republican, though as he has made no public comments to that effect I won't name him here. The less said about a certain Australian conductor, the better. I hope that none of the British performers I admire are republicans.
In general I don't envy Soloists, who fly from hotel room to hotel room, and am happy to be an orchestral cellist. However, sometimes I wish I were prominent enough in classical music for my monarchist views to be Noticed.
But I can take comfort in the fact that Brahms, despite a youthful essay arguing that music should be "republican" in the sense of being accessible to all, was politically a staunch monarchist and once got very angry at a friend who had mocked the young Kaiser Wilhelm II. Haydn was a monarchist as well; the last music he played when he was dying in 1809, reportedly with great feeling, was his own Kaiserhymne. Verdi, near the end of his own life, was overcome with grief at the assassination of King Umberto I in 1900, wondering if his own 1859 opera "Un Ballo in Maschera" (inspired by the 1792 assassination of King Gustaf III of Sweden) could be in some way to blame. (It must be admitted that most Italians were probably rather more moved by Verdi's death the following year.) Brazilian composer Carlos Gomes (1836-1896) remained loyal to Emperor Pedro II after the 1889 coup and refused the new Republic's request to compose a new national anthem. Bruckner, a devout Catholic who was humbly moved to be decorated by Emperor Franz Joseph and considered moving to Mexico to serve his brother Emperor Maximilian, was a staunch monarchist. Perhaps more surprisingly, as an article in The Critic revealed, so were musical modernists Schoenberg and Stravinsky, who long after the Revolution never lost his reverence for the Russian Imperial Family. Benjamin Britten (1913-1976) was famously pacifist, but as far as I know had no problem with the British Monarchy and counted Prince Ludwig of Hesse (1908-1968) & his wife and the Queen's cousin the Earl of Harewood (1923-2011) as friends.
I guess this just goes to show you that musicians can be all over the map politically!
Saturday, June 10, 2023
On June 1, Crown Prince Hussein of Jordan married Rajwa Al Saif in Amman. Congratulations to the newlyweds! The Royal Hashemite Court has released this splendid photo of most of the distinguished guests. This article helped me identify almost everyone in the picture.
Monday, May 15, 2023
While I'm obviously no longer the frequent blogger I used to be, since I don't want this blog to be considered completely defunct, I can hardly ignore here the glorious historic Coronation of last Saturday 6 May (covered extensively on my social media), in which Charles III was crowned King of the United Kingdom in Westminster Abbey. I was of course up at 4:15 AM Dallas time to watch the event live on YouTube, following along in my printout of the liturgy, and with millions around the world was thrilled by the spectacle, the spiritual power of the occasion, and the music. As a Loyalist I joined enthusiastically in the Homage of the People. God Save the King!
I assume that readers (if I still have any) have by now seen plenty of Coronation coverage elsewhere, so I will not attempt to be comprehensive in this rather belated post. Instead, I wish to share some links to photo galleries, videos, and thoughtful articles (more or less in reverse chronological order of appearance, as is fitting for the blog format) that you might not have seen, as well as the official photographs taken in Buckingham Palace after the event.
Alexandra Wilson, Music fit for a king
Charles A. Coulombe, After the Crowning
Fr. Steve Rice, God Bless America, God Save the King
John Martin Robinson, Coronation Diary
YouTube: The Coronation Weekend (Prince & Princess of Wales)
Saint Thomas Church: A Service of Thanksgiving for the Coronation of HM King Charles III
Paul Shakeshaft, Why a Coronation Matters
Sohrab Ahmani, Coronation is a ritual humiliation
Esmé Partridge, In Defense of the Philosopher King
Rebecca Mead, The Self-Justifying Philosophy of King Charles
Aris Roussinos, Britain Needs King Charles the Weird
Anna Tyzack, What sort of man is King Charles, and what sort of king will he be? (2022)