by Nicholas Jones, March 6, 2020
March 6 is remembered the date of the final bloody battle, in 1836, between Mexican and US forces at the Mission Alamo near San Antonio. Remember the Alamo, indeed, for many reasons, not the least the United States’ present wrong-headed (in my opinion) policies towards Mexico. But early music fans may prefer (I know I do) a more serene version of the “alamo” by early 16th-century Spanish composer Juan Vazquez, the lovely Villancicos, “De los alamos venue” — “from the cottonwoods.” The tenor sings the simple tune; the other lines weave delicately about it, and the text implies a young man returning home from visiting his beloved, and telling his mother about it. The gentle motion of the branches in the breeze, figured in the gentle rise and fall of the musical lines, figures as a metaphor for the beauty of his girlfriend, his “linda amiga.” It’s an alamo I love remembering.