Author: Parker Ramsay

Monteverdi

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HarpingOn

The Xuhui district of Shanghai is perhaps equivalent to New York’s Upper West Side. Tall luxury apartment buildings are interspersed with art deco condos separated from their sisters over in the French Concession, a juxtaposition of old and new. Down the street in one direction, there’s a Paris Baguette and a Starbucks. In the other, a Franco-Japanese coffeehouse next to a museum. Thai and Euro-fusion restaurants abound in the neighborhood, though the food of choice […]

Nabokov

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HarpingOn

After charming the border agents at Gatwick, I headed straight to the Chinese embassy’s visa centre on Old Jewry. (For reasons too boring to list here, I had to obtain a Chinese visa during my visit to the UK. Life lesson: while the prospect of international travel and performing is glamorous, the realities without fail, are less so.) The shittiness of my latest return to the UK Might be on par with the time I […]

Russia

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HarpingOn

So, has anyone else noticed that the Trump election/Russia story keeps going… nowhere? I’m the first to admit that Trump’s performance in office is really less than ideal. But once again the vitriol about the Presidency seems to be descending into senselessness. For instance, the FBI, once the source of the cock-up which got Trump into office (thanks, Comey), is now supposedly the most reliable source of information that will supposedly protect our democracy. Indeed, […]

Space Purcell

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HarpingOn

I’m indoors, pretending the outside world doesn’t exist. Facebook seems a wash of video postings from Schubert’s Winterreise, sung by any one of a myriad of talentless English tenors with vocal nodules. No thanks. If you really, really want to feel some insincere winter bleak feels, have a listen to Klaus Nomi’s intergalactic rendition of Purcell’s “Cold Song” from King Arthur.

Trachis

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HarpingOn

My resolution for 2018 is “pay a bit more attention to the blog.” With any luck, I’ll be posting more frequently, and with less laborious prose. Over the last few weeks, I’ve kind of been getting into Sciarrino. I’ve got a piece of his in the oven for an audition tape, L’addio a Trachis (1980). It’s remarkably difficult to find much out about the work itself. Even when scouring Classical sources, the city of Trachis […]

A New Year?

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HarpingOn

It’s been a rough year, so here’s some Bach. Das alte Jahr vergangen ist is usually one of the more “upbeat” of the new year carols, though it was particularly contentious around the time Bach wrote it in Weimar. Just down the road in Erfurt in 1712, a group of kids passed a Catholic home as they sang the verse “keep us, Lord, from Papal teaching and idolatry” (Vor’s Papsts Lehr’ und Abgötterei bewahr uns, […]

Advent II

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HarpingOn

Interfaith coupledom has entered a new phase. Friday night, Richard and I headed up to B’nai Jeshurun on 88th Street a little after 6 o’clock. Having become accustomed to relatively poor church attendance rates in Manhattan, watching a room and balcony fill up with congregants was a jolt to the system. People talked enthusiastically before the service as the oud and clarinet tuned up in front of the bimah. Within ten minutes there was singing […]