Pipe Organs

Today, we will hear four pipe organs in Mexico City. There organs were built in the early 1700s. I just listened to the one in the cathedral. It has a unique sound, but it certainly isn´t overpowering. This evening, we will hear one which probably will be more impressive.

Nonetheless, the history and the beauty of the churches and cathedrals is astounding. Mexican history is complex. There were the Aztecs. They were defeated by the Spanish. The Spanish immigrants mixed with the natives and imported black slaves. Every possible racial mixture was given a separate name such as "mestizo" or "creole" until there were 52 groups not counting the native Indian tribes.

Those groups, as you might imagine, were ranked. Some were allowed in this or that part of the church and some were not.

We heard a Mexican piece this morning which used the Aztec language. There were Spanish composers, Mexican composers, as well as some indigenous musicians. The history is rich and varies, but only a tip of the iceberg survives. They are just beginning to sort it all out.

We heard a recital by two Mexican sopranos as well this morning. They sang mostly Mexican classical music, which, at least thus far, to my ear at least, is indistinguishable from other 18th century music. Some of it is quite good. It simply is not played in North America because we take all of our music from Europe.

Just after I wrote the last entry, there was a cloudburst which cleared the square in minutes of the throngs of people and the vendors. Later that night, we walked on the damp streets to the palace of Las Belles Artes--what a place. It was built in 1934 or so. The curtain--which must be 75 feet tall--is made of Tiffany glass.

What an amazing show. It was billed as a ballet, but there was every form of music and dancing, and the costumes were spectacular. It was something I hadn´t relished attending, but it wasn´t to be missed in the end.

Just now, I snuck away from the group for a little respite. It gets to be a little much wondering around like a herd of cows.

Eighty degrees and hazy today. The pollution is not noticable. It is muggy, but it is cool in the churches.