“You said I was a warrior. You told me that was my nature, and I shouldn’t argue with it. Father, you were wrong. I fought because I had to. I can’t choose my nature, but I can choose what I do. And I will choose, because now I’m free.”
Will was the son of John Parry, an explorer, and of Elaine Parry, a woman who suffered from apparent mental problems including obsessive-compulsive disorder and paranoia. Will failed to remember his father, a former Royal Marine, who had not been heard of since he vanished on an expedition to the Arctic, and who we later learn had wandered into another world and was unable to find his way back.
The harp became popular in the 18th century as a more intimate instrument suited for salons and intellectual gatherings. The harp was introduced to opera orchestras in Gluck’s “Orpheus and Eurydice” (1762), where it mimicked the ancient lyre. After this the harp was much featured by composers like Mehul, Spontini, Lesueur and Grétny. By some it was considered a celtic heritage, the Irish harp, by others it was considered a direct link to ancient Greek lyres. The latter was of particular interest in the 18th century, when the re-discovery of Pompeii spurred an interest for everything from antiquity.
Harps from the 17th century often featured just 25 strings in a diatonic scale. The 18th century came with many inventions in this aspect. Harps were now usually made with 35-38 strings, and they had a chromatic scale, thus creating bigger liberty in sound and style for the performer. The pedal harp were also introduced around 1720. The pedals allowed the performer to have both hands free and instead use the feet to change the pitch of the strings.
The harp was considered the ultimate showpiece instrument, displaying the grace, talent and intellect of the performer. No wonder then that there are so many wonderful harp portraits from the 18th century! Here’s some favourites.
And she sobbed so passionately he thought that hearts really did break, and hers was breaking now, for she fell to the ground wailing and shuddering, and Pantalaimon beside her became a wolf and howled with bitter grief.
And here’s William Parry singing an earlier version of “It’s in Your Hands Now” from the 1999 NYTW workshop production of Wise Guys.
In Look I Made a Hat Sondheim tries to justify recycling the melody from Assassins:
At the time, I told myself that if a tune was never going to see the light of day in the show for which it was written, why not utilize it in an appropriate elsewhere? I didn’t wait around for the answer.
I would buy that explanation if the tune really hadn’t seen the light of day, but anyone familiar with Assassins recognizes this as the interlude from “Another National Anthem” (“I just heard / on the news / that a mailman won the lottery”). Oh well.
COME OUT TODAY!!!!
February 27 (Monday), 6-9pm, ‘Against the Wall: Art as Resistance in Palestine’, UNC-Charlotte, Cone Center, Lucas Room
William Parry, photojournalist and author will make a presentation of his work and discuss his book ‘Against the Wall: Art as Resistance in Palestine’ at UNC-Charlotte, Cone Center, Lucas Room. The event is being organized by Ashley Tawfiq and sponsored by the Amnesty International UNCC student group and local AI group #712. Will Parry examines the grassroots graffiti and art by both the locals and internationally known artists like Banksy that adorn the wall that runs through the occupied West Bank and how it affects the lives of those who must live with it. Where: UNC-Charlotte, Cone Center, Lucas Room; When: Monday, February 27th, 6-9pm. FREE and open to the public. Refreshments to follow.
(Like the opportunity Sondheim took to reuse the flag theme (“I just heard / on the news / that the mailman won the lottery”) from Assassins as the melodic basis for this song in Road Show. Having it performed by William Parry, who originated the role of the Proprietor in Assassins, only emphasized the connection. I’ll leave it up to you to debate what that means, although I for one don’t find it particularly subtle.)