The Cosmos Ensemble, in a picture taken in 2016

Presentation of the commemorative concert of the 10th anniversary of the Cosmos Ensemble

Madrid, Fine Arts Circle, November 23, 1998

Good evening, ladies and gentlemen.
First of all, I would like to thank to the Cosmos Ensemble for having been kind enough to invite me to share with Leopoldo Hontañón the presentation of this concert to celebrate its 10th anniversary. Among the many factors that are worth highlighting, one of them is this curious and no less happy idea that, together with the performers, who are the more than just protagonists of the act, a critic and a composer take the stage, and, as for myself, I hasten to say that, although I speak on behalf of the authors of the works on tonight's program, nothing could be further from my intention than to represent them: everything I say is on my own behalf, although naturally I hope that is unanimously shared by them.
I was saying a moment ago that a large number of factors to be highlighted coincide in this act. As I do not want to abuse your patience, or the time of a presentation like this, I will focus on those who, for one reason or another, are, in my opinion, more significant.
In the first place, and although it may seem like a truism, it is noteworthy that the Cosmos Ensemble commemorates its 10th anniversary with a concert. The Cosmos boys could have celebrated such an important date with a sumptuous meal, with a pleasure trip, or with any of the usual playful procedures in this type of ephemeris; however, they have preferred to dedicate their work of the past few months to preparing this concert, with which the jubilee act that for anyone has the celebration of a famous anniversary, for them only made sense if it went through the previous work of preparing it. Why? Because it is precisely working that they enjoy. And as they know that they are not the only ones, since many of us who dedicate ourselves to this world suffer from the same defect, they have put the rest of us to work, so that we can celebrate their anniversary with them in perfect harmony. How? Asking for this act to a few friendly composers, those who integrate this program, the composition of a work, or the instrumentation of an existing piece. Between the phrase "We're ten years old, come to our party", and the phrase "We're ten years old, so put he batteries, because you have two months to write us a work", there is an important qualitative difference that I think it is unnecessary to comment.
Secondly, as everyone who knows their career well knows, and as will become clear throughout the concert, the Cosmos Ensemble practices a difficult repertoire and, to a large extent, dissuasive for the vast majority of people, unfamiliar with the contemporary aesthetic world, although tonight's program, deliberately playful, reveals that a sense of humor also has a place in that world. On behalf of all the contemporary composers programmed by the Cosmos Ensemble over these ten years, I would like to publicly thank them for their exemplary attention to our works, and that, by interpreting them, they have voluntarily set aside a more conventional repertoire that could have brought them, in a time much less than a decade, a larger audience and a more immediate success. This shows an artistic and human quality of the first order. But one does not live by good words alone, and that ascription to a certain music forces dependence, on the part of all its members, on the stability of an individual livelihood that allows them, almost like a luxury, to develop at its shelter the collective work that we are going to witness in a few minutes.

And in a curious, but highly significant coincidence, it turns out that practically all the components of the Cosmos Ensemble share the same type of stable livelihood, which is none other than teaching as music teachers in different professional conservatories in Madrid. and its surroundings, an activity that I also share with all of them, which makes me fully identify with the group's problems and generates a special wave of sympathy with its members. In turn, this is for me reason for a double reflection, which I limit myself to stating here: on the one hand, and as any Head of Studies knows, if nothing is more complicated than coordinating the schedule of half a dozen teachers, imagine what which supposes for the group the mere planning of the rehearsals, which due to the individual teaching work of its members must generally be concentrated on weekends and in the most absolute night, which, although it is very useful to maintain an indispensable touch of artistic bohemia, it requires a clear dose of enthusiasm for the work and generosity for its realization. On the other hand, it is logical to assume that, to a large extent, the didactic activity carried out in the classroom by the members of the group will often permeate the environment surrounding the rehearsals, that the works will often be shown to the students and examined with them, and that these, moved both by affection for the teacher and by the interest that he has been able to transmit to them, will be part of the public of the different performances, as I am sure that it happens in this act. In this way, it is achieved that the teaching objectives do not end in the center's premises, but are enriched by serving the teacher as the ideal bridge between the student and professional practice.

With Leopoldo Hontañón in the presentation of the
10th anniversary of the Cosmos Ensemble

For all these reasons, and for many more that time prevents from displaying here, we should all be glad that a group dedicated to the interpretation of contemporary music such as Cosmos has come to celebrate ten years of existence, especially if one takes into account what inhospitable, not to say openly hostile, of the environment in which they are forced to operate, in which the majority interest in the great soloists, in the dazzling symphonic ensembles and in the expensive and spectacular operatic productions annuls in practice the correct development of chamber music, in general, and of contemporary music, in particular, constantly putting at risk the simple survival of the few groups that have the courage to enter that terrain. For all these reasons, the best way in which we can congratulate the members of the Cosmos Ensemble for this recently completed decade is by expressing our unconditional support as critics, authors and audience, in order to let them know that we all want this act to mean nothing more than, simply, the celebration of the first ten years of its existence.
With all my heart, congratulations. And to all of you, thank you very much for your attention.