That’s la bomba, the pump, not la bamba, the dance. This very Monday the Mannes Collegium Musicum presents its end-of-semester concert featuring Spanish Renaissance music about boats and bodies of water. Who wants to go in the boat with me? (Quien quiere entrar comigo en el barco? Quien quiere entrar comigo a la mar? Que soi marinero y se navegar.) Let’s hope we know how to navigate the routes for all the pieces. Grant Herreid, our captain, has done his best with a somewhat rackety crew.
There are beautiful sweet songs and a morally-dubious number in which an adulterous wife is done in. The big set-piece is Mateo Flecha’s ensalada La bomba, a musical skit in which we are flung immediately into disaster: the ship is sinking! Rush to the pumps! Swim for your life, if you know how. Oh saints, help us; if we’re saved, we’ll go barefoot to Santiago, even to Jerusalem. (Flecha is best remembered for his ensaladas, a genre like the quodlibet, full of quotations from previously existing music.)
There is a YouTube clip of Hesperion XX playing the most rousing section of the piece, but I’m not going to link it. It’d just be a big tease.