Fred Frith and Nouvel Ensemble Moderne at FIMAV by Paul Serralheiro
/ May 5, 2003
If you're going to have a party to celebrate an
anniversary, you'll want to invite old friends. This is one reason why the
people who organize the Festival International de Musique Actuelle de
Victoriaville (FIMAV) have invited Fred Frith. The English guitarist-composer
and musical polyglot has appeared many times at the festival since its inaugural
year. For the 20th anniversary Frith will perform with René Lussier, another old
friend, on May 15, and he'll be sharing the bill on May 18 with the Nouvel
Ensemble Moderne (NEM).
The program for the latter
concert consists of works that Frith wrote for different ensembles at various
times, the most recent of which, "Shading my face it shall be you," was
commissioned by the Relâche Ensemble and premiered in January of this year. Also
on the program is "Traffic Continues," a suite of pieces recorded by Frith and
the Ensemble Modern of Germany in 2002. It is an ambitious creation, arranged in
modules of composed music and improvisational sections. Frith is eclectic in his
handling of themes, rhythm, harmony and timbre, going full-tilt into exploration
of sonic textures alluding to everything from Stravinsky to global folk music
and the world of machines. The piece combines, in the words of the program notes
for the event, "a seamless quilt of popular and so-called 'serious music'
sensibilities." Lorraine Vaillancourt will conduct and Frith will play electric
guitar and cue in improvised parts.
The chemistry required for this
approach to work seems to have been established when Frith, Vaillancourt and the
NEM got together in December 2002 for a first run-though. "There was good
rapport between the musicians and I am very confident about this project and the
ability of my musicians to do this," Vaillancourt recently commented. Michel
Levasseur, artistic director of the festival, is equally enthusiastic: "I wanted
to bring together the world of contemporary music and musique actuelle. Frith
was the perfect person for this."
Fred Frith and Nouvel Ensemble Moderne, Sunday May 18 at
10:00 PM at the Colisée des Bois-Francs in