|1969 with Alexandra by the American Embassy|
In these blogs I have written frequently on my feelings of nostalgia for countries I have lived in. I have also mentioned how I discovered late in my life that to have nostalgia for a place one cannot be in that place.
Canada brings me memories of Neal Young singing Ohio or Art Bergmann singing Hawaii.
Texas has to be Willie Nelson singing Blue Skies and Argentina (particularly Buenos Aires) has to be any Astor Piazzolla.
What of Mexico a place I lived from 1943 to 1964 and from 1967 to 1975?
In the early 30s Aaron Copland was taken to a nightclub of ill-repute, El Salón México, by Mexican composer Carlos Chávez. There at a table Copland saw taxi dancers in an atmosphere that he liked so much he returned often and finally completed his El Salón México in 1936.
In the years 1967 to 1975 in Mexico City I shared my life with my Rosemary and two daughters. Particularly from 1967 for a couple of years we lived near a movie house called Cine Chapultepec on the lovely boulevard Avenida Reforma. We had two choices when attending a film. One was to show up just before it began. When this happened the movie house was full and we could not sit together. The other option was to go 40 or more minutes before. In our comfortable seats together we were subjected to PRI (Partido Revolucioario Intstitucional) propaganda that featured the presiden cutting ribbons at hospitals, etc. More often than not the music in the backround was Copland’s El Salón México.
There are authentic Mexican composers like Carlos Chávez and Silvestre Revueltas but to me (and obviously for the makers of the PRI propaganda, Copland was the most Mexican sounding one. I agree.
In Youtube if you know the existence of a favourite piece of music you can usually find it. That is how I found a terrific video in b+w, with a luxury of multiple film camera work probably shot at Carnegie Hall that features Leonard Bernstein introducing Aaron Copland on his birthday who proceeds to conduct El Salón México.
I cannot view this video without thinking of my Rosemary when we were young and living on Calle Herodoto. Just like Herodotus wrote that you could never touch a spot on a river twice, I grieve but still remember fondly those days that now seem to be so much simpler and rosier.
And to finish with a smile I remember once when Rosemary and I were sitting far appart watching an English film with Peter Sellers that often had bathroom scene jokes. In this one a bidet was mentioned. Mexicans did not seem to know what a bidet was so heard Rosemary laughing on the other side of the movie house.