An exciting activity

Article published in the "ABC Cultural" of November 22nd 1986



I would describe the panorama of current composition as highly suggestive, in our country and abroad. Once the experimentalist stage of the last decades has been surpassed -which doesn’t mean neither forgotten nor concluded- music seems to want to return to its "usual" channels. Arguably, it is becoming more serene, more contemplative, more sensual. Speculation is giving way to other factors more artistic (in a traditional sense) than scientific or cybernetic. Perhaps it is still a bit early to say, but it is very possible that the music of the next few years will seek a sound beauty close to that of the classical canons. Today some recent movements are described as "new consonance".
The findings of all kinds (timbral, rhythmic, harmonic, electronic) of recent years are being incorporated into a very different context from the one in which they arose and developed. A good proof of this are the two masterpieces recently heard in Madrid, and which I do not doubt should remain in the public’s memory: Saint François D’Assisse by Messiaen, and the Polish Requiem by Penderecki. If there is something in them for which they deserve to be highlighted from other contemporary works, apart from their mastery, it is for their intelligibility, which allows them to reach the average public, not necessarily initiated, quickly and directly from the first audition. And this is, of course, positive. This couple of works may suffice to awaken in the general public an interest in contemporary creation that until now remained no longer latent, but in many cases repudiated.
Being a musician in Spain is, generally, being forced to develop an exciting activity in a sullen and inhospitable terrain. Composer, instrumentalist, singer, conductor, teacher ... any facet of the diverse musical profession involves incessantly fighting against an almost non-existent infrastructure that our country drags, like a remora, without deciding to give it the right shape. This has been the case for decades, but in recent years the demand for music has been so strong that it has overwhelmed the few possibilities that the various institutions had to serve it.
Let’s see, for instance, the serious problem that the Madrid Conservatory is facing today, or the shortage of Spanish string instrumentalists to cover the needs of our orchestras ... A reform that updates our musical panorama is becoming more and more necessary; a reform that, make no mistake, must first update the chapter that the State budgets dedicate to music and its consequences.