Zappa.com

The Official Frank Zappa Messageboards
It is currently Fri Nov 17, 2017 11:31 am

All times are UTC - 8 hours




Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 10 posts ] 
Author Message
 Post subject: Zappa's Classical Music
PostPosted: Thu Apr 20, 2017 7:31 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Thu Jan 19, 2017 3:12 pm
Posts: 106
I've always been a big fan of 200 Motels (particularly the Vareseian orchestral parts), Mo's and Herb's Vacation, Pedro's Dowry and the Yellow Shark program.

I recently made a suite version of the 200 Motels soundtrack which I think I'll upload somewhere, which I feel is stronger as a classical work than Bogus Pomp (I'm not much of a fan of that piece).

He had so much potential as a composer, I wish he would have put more emphasis on it in his career than like four albums :cry: But I guess Frank wouldn't be the same Frank otherwise...

Can we discuss his classical output here?


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Thu Apr 20, 2017 7:42 pm 
Offline

Joined: Wed Sep 18, 2002 4:35 am
Posts: 891
From what I have gathered...it was money that stood in the way of him indulging in his modern classical side more than he did. Frankly (pun intended)...an orchestra is pricier than a rock group was the impression he put across in interviews...not to mention dealing with that many more egos and hence...attitudes. For myself...I love his classical works and his other instrumental pieces...maybe more so than the lyrical things (which is not to say I don't dig that side as well.) Wish I could write that intricately.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Fri Apr 21, 2017 12:47 am 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Thu Jan 19, 2017 3:12 pm
Posts: 106
Here is that edit, via soundcloud:

https://soundcloud.com/user-322914325/frank-zappa-200-motels-as-a-cohesive-work-for-orchestra-choir


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Fri Apr 21, 2017 1:17 am 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Thu Jan 19, 2017 3:12 pm
Posts: 106
Dances wrote:
From what I have gathered...it was money that stood in the way of him indulging in his modern classical side more than he did. Frankly (pun intended)...an orchestra is pricier than a rock group was the impression he put across in interviews...not to mention dealing with that many more egos and hence...attitudes. For myself...I love his classical works and his other instrumental pieces...maybe more so than the lyrical things (which is not to say I don't dig that side as well.) Wish I could write that intricately.



Yes, that's correct. It's part of the downside to him largely being an outsider to the classical community in his day (apart from Boulez and Nagano) :(


There are many brilliant pieces that should be re-recorded. I was never satisfied with the recordings on the LSO volumes, it sounds too dry and lacking in vital dynamics to me. The best version of Pedro's Dowry, I think is actually the bootleg of "A Zappa Affair", which has more emphasis on the percussion and overall textures (outside of the ostinato part).

I feel satisfied with the Yellow Shark CD but it was recorded live, which leaves various little miking issues with me.

I don't like Bogus Pomp as a whole (both versions), it doesn't feel like a coherent part and there are moments from the 200 motels score that I would not have included in it (as you can see from my version).

Mo's and Herb's Vacation I feel is possibly his greatest classical work, but again the LSO recording in and of itself, is not satisfactory.
It's a massive piece exploring lots of very awesome areas and can actually be taken as a "serious" work too, great Vareseian moments and it covers the whole spectrum.

I like Envelopes, it reminds me of late Messiaen. Quite an atmospheric piece, when played by an orchestra!

Sad Jane is another piece I don't like all that much, it's not bad but I can personally pass it. Her counterpart Bob In Dracon is slightly more interesting but not as impressive compared to the former classical works.

I Have Seen The Pleated Gazelle is also one of my absolute favorites, which is also derived from the 200 Motels score (or more realistically written at the same time but ended up being included in parts on the soundtrack). It has some very impressive Webernian vocal writing and a hilarious spoken script/text, I love that one!


There are a few thoughts there 8)


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Fri Apr 21, 2017 1:26 am 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Thu Jan 19, 2017 3:12 pm
Posts: 106
Also the old ancient Lumpy Gravy, which in itself is a conceptual sound-collage containing bits and pieces of electroacoustic music buried in there, but the bulk of the interludes are apparently a unrecorded orchestral work of it's own.
The writing on that album (orchestral) is great too and him at his most blatantly Vareseian.

Last year I also made an edit (similar to my 200 motels edit linked above) of Lumpy Gravy and it's quite a dark piece on it's own, without all the voices, electroacoustic passages and surf rock tracks! :shock:


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Fri Apr 21, 2017 3:09 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Mon Oct 25, 2004 2:53 am
Posts: 2520
Location: Hamilton, NJ
I would wear headphones at work and LSO was often coming through them. FZ's classical work is challenging when listened to closely, it is also good to stimulate thinking.

_________________
If we're dumb . . .
Then God is dumb . . .
(An' maybe even a little bit ugly on the side)


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Thu Nov 16, 2017 4:45 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Thu Jan 19, 2017 3:12 pm
Posts: 106
tweezers wrote:
I would wear headphones at work and LSO was often coming through them. FZ's classical work is challenging when listened to closely, it is also good to stimulate thinking.


The Yellow Shark plays well on a good set of car speakers, blast it loud and presto! :smoke:


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Fri Nov 17, 2017 7:12 am 
Offline

Joined: Wed Apr 20, 2016 10:00 pm
Posts: 125
Absolutely. Frank's classical works are superb. What I really enjoyed about them was the way he dared to steer away from traditional uses of melody and rhythm. There's not even a use of classical key structures and pieces can jump from one to the next. Without doubt avante garde 20th century.

I'd argue that most of Frank's instrumental works could be classed as classical. The purple lagoon, The Ocean is the ultimate solution and the awesome RDNZL are without doubt works that could have been adapted to an orchestral arrangement without to much work.

That reminds me of something Frank mentions in 'The Real Frank Zappa' book I think it is. That was that the cost to produce manuscript alone for an orchestra is not cheap as you have to pay for transposition for the numerous instruments that require specialised notation(French horns come to mind.) That said I've met saxophone players for example that can transcribe in real time as they play and surely professionals like the London Symphony Orchestra players could do the same. Despite this possibility, Frank made a special point of having the complete orchestra manuscripts all Doctored nicely and printed up especially to ensure each member of the orchestra had there own copy of the pieces he wanted to realise on the day of recording. Due to the expense he only got one crack at some of them.

The bit that annoyed Frank the most was that unlike a rock band(which Frank seemed to look at as a budget orchestra in any case), the members of the London Symphony Orchestra at the time would not sit and go through the music or listen to what Frank was trying to achieve etc. They would take off if there part was not required at that time, go and have a drink in the pub etc, then come back and want to be paid full orchestra day rates for the entire day even if they were only there for 30% of the time or less. So it's understandable that he would get annoyed about them. Most of the people I've read interviews about who worked with Frank declared that he wanted 101% and let's be honest if you or I were paying people to produce our music, we'd want dedication and professional standards with no nonsense and value for money to.

I've no doubt that Frank would have put together symphonies and incredible pieces for orchestra had orchestra's been within his financial grasp but as he declared on a David Letterman interview, sadly classical instrumental works, especially new ones do not sell as well as rock albums.

The Yellow Shark was a beautiful album and it was so fantastic that Frank got to experience a group of classically trained musicians who actually cared about his music before his passing. It was proof that without a doubt there was a lot more classical works being constructed in Frank's mind that's for sure. I'm often blown away by the performance of G-Spot Tornado on the Yellow Shark performance versus the Synclavier version on Jazz From Hell. Without a doubt the group blitz it. It was interesting to note that it took a lot of rehearsals to pull it off as well. Frank even commented that he had written that piece of music believing no group would actually be able to perform it and hence his choice of the Synclavier for the initial delivering of that piece to the world.

Have you heard the SACD 'Omnibus Wind Ensemble' performing the music of Frank Zappa? They do a superb job showing how terrific a lot of Frank's other pieces sound with classical arrangements. It was also a nice touch to end with there version of Bolero by Maurice Ravel which was a piece that Frank enjoyed as well.

Thanks for sharing your 200 Motels edit I've always found the original 200 Motels to be a fascinating musical work. Without the music of Frank Zappa, 200 Motels would be the strangest play anyone could ever see. Oh how I wish they would finally release a long overdue Vinyl, CD and 24bit wav USB release of this sadly overlooked master piece.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Fri Nov 17, 2017 7:22 am 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Tue Oct 29, 2002 12:41 pm
Posts: 16519
Location: Behind a ultra-avant laminated, simulated replica-mahogany desk
Spaceresearcher wrote:
Have you heard the SACD 'Omnibus Wind Ensemble' performing the music of Frank Zappa? They do a superb job showing how terrific a lot of Frank's other pieces sound with classical arrangements. It was also a nice touch to end with there version of Bolero by Maurice Ravel which was a piece that Frank enjoyed as well.

Thanks, nice words.

I have this [plain] CD and I like it very much. I always wondered what could "No applause after this number" means...

_________________
Image


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Fri Nov 17, 2017 10:50 am 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Sun Aug 03, 2003 3:45 am
Posts: 11766
Location: EINDHOVEN
It's a request that orchestras and ensembles have sometimes, for the audience not to clap after a song is over...

_________________
Image
Join the PackardGoose forum! Send me a PM!


Top
 Profile  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 10 posts ] 

All times are UTC - 8 hours


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 7 guests


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
Powered by phpBB® Forum Software © phpBB Group