Maybe a year or more ago a big article in the press appeared about the recording (I'll try to find it...I have a hard copy in the basement). According to Gail, the entire production was filmed by a crew who in turn ran off with the tapes. She sued to get the footage back and supposedly did. SO, I imagine it IS in the works, this proposed DVD/CD release. This is obviously something super special, Frank coming full circle, at the very end of his life.
Here's a pertinent quote from another article/interview with conductor Peter Eotvos (found over at www.zappa.hu
- Péter Eötvös remembers Frank Zappa -
So you first met him personally in 1992. What was it like?
Fantastic. The orchestra Ensemble Modern had previously been in contact with Zappa and as a conductor I joined them for the Varese recordings. The relationship between the band and him was very relaxed and I had also become very close with them during previous projects. The recordings took place in Hollywood, in the Warner Brothers Studios which were booked for a week.
At that time Zappa was already very ill. An armchair was placed directly next to my conductors' podium so that he could sit right beside me during the rehearsals and recording sessions and listen to everything from the same spot. He closed his eyes and spoke only rarely: "Peter, there's something I don't understand." He wouldn't say what it was, only that there was something. As a matter of fact this is the best possible instruction because it comes from a listener who only notices that there's something on the album that he doesn't get. As long as he understood what was going on, everything was fine. He'd only speak up if there was a problem. Surely, you could always tell right away where the problem was. I noticed it right away and so did the orchestra. We fixed it and then went on. This is how it went, in fantastic harmony from dawn to dusk. The atmosphere was great. Lunch was brought to the studio, we had different guest audiences, there was a sofa in the back where they could sit down. Nicolas Slonimsky for example, Ionisation's first conductor back in the '30s. I think he was 99 when he came to listen to us. It was one of the fundamental pieces that inspired the whole recording, so this was truly a beautiful situation with Zappa, the first conductor, the orchestra and I... There was a TV crew filming his every move, during his last years practically 24/7.
What happened to the recorded material?
We listened to it after it was done, Zappa even made a remix, alone I think. The recordings still exist, I too have a copy for example you can listen to if you’d like. Except for the remix of Ionisation - the only part that wasn't finished - its quality is absolutely fantastic. So the album could be released, but Gail, Zappa's wife and legal successor refuses to give her consent. No one knows why, there is no logical explanation for it, and it's really too bad because in the meantime two other Varese albums have come out, and they're good in their own way, but due to Zappa's remix our work possesses a unique quality.
EDIT: Can't find the article on-line but it was published 1/29/06. So maybe we are getting close!?