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Fred Frith in Madrid.


In the art nouveau Manuel de Falla hall of the Langoria Palace in Madrid (headquarters of the Spanish Society of Authors), Fred Frith was awaited with enthusiasm. It was necessary to be there to hear and see the master of Free Improvisation.
The singular aesthetics of the hall, inconsistent with the strength and sobriety of Frith’s sound, was not adequate. Nor did the lack of enthusiasm with which the event was organized help: Lighting?, what for. Staging?: no need, the important thing is listening. Statics noises?, it doesn’t matter, it’s avant-garde music!; checking the equipment connections?, with wireless connection and the tablet, it’s not necessary.
Fred Frith could not concentrate on his improvisation because “the other improvisation”, the one in the hall, prevented him from hearing himself clearly. The sound of Manuel Borrás (piano) and Jordi Pallarés (electronics and percussion) dominated much of the concert until the technical problems were solved. On two occasions, Frith had to leave the stage because he could not be heard on the monitor. Despite the good work and commitment, the overwhelming repertoire of artistic resources, the surprising ways of interpreting the guitar and good moments of communication between musicians and audience, the concert was a bit frustrating. There were many distractions for a type of music in which careful attetion is indispensable. For Improvisation to bear its best fruit, it requires rigor and meticulousness in the environment that makes it possible: the technical aspects, the acoustics of the hall and a staging that aids concentration of the audience and the musicians.

Manuel de Falla Hall. SGAE.19/10/ 2021