Cinco de Mayo and the Battle of Puebla

battle of puebla

Cinco de Mayo celebrates the 1862 victory of the Mexican army over a superior French army at the Battle of Puebla.  Although France eventually prevailed and installed Maximilian, Archduke of Austria, as Emperor of Mexico, the battle has become a symbol of Mexican unity and patriotism.

The Mexican-American War had devastated the Mexican treasury.  By 1861, Mexico was essentially bankrupt.  To remedy the situation, President Benito Juarez suspended the repayment of foreign debts for a period of two years.  At the end of this period, he promised, such payments would resume. Continue reading

Advertisements

Modest Mussorgysky’s “Night on Bald Mountain” – the original Black Sabbath

 

mussorgsky

Although written nearly 150 years ago, Modest Mussorgsky’s “Night on Bald Mountain” feels incredibly modern.   Mussorgsky composed the piece – about a witches’ Sabbath and Satan worship on St. John’s Eve – over 12 sleepless days in 1860, finishing on St. John’s Eve itself.  In a letter to Vladimir Nikolsky, he said of the work:

 “[I]t seethed within me so, and I simply didn’t know what was happening within me… I see in my wicked prank an independent Russian product, free from German profundity and routine… grown on our native fields and nurtured on Russian bread.”

Continue reading