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 Post subject: Zappa's Classical Music
PostPosted: Thu Apr 20, 2017 7:31 pm 
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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?


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 20, 2017 7:42 pm 
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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.


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 21, 2017 12:47 am 
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Here is that edit, via soundcloud:

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


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 21, 2017 1:17 am 
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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)


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 21, 2017 1:26 am 
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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:


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 21, 2017 3:09 pm 
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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.

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