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 Post subject: LSO
PostPosted: Mon Jan 07, 2013 1:31 pm 
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I was listening to the LSO CD today and decided that it's my favourite of the orchestral albums. Am I wrong???


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 Post subject: Re: LSO
PostPosted: Mon Jan 07, 2013 2:04 pm 
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You're not wrong. But Yellow Shark rules all.

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 Post subject: Re: LSO
PostPosted: Mon Jan 07, 2013 2:28 pm 
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My favorite is none of them.

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 Post subject: Re: LSO
PostPosted: Mon Jan 07, 2013 3:00 pm 
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Very good, very good indeed...

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 Post subject: Re: LSO
PostPosted: Mon Jan 07, 2013 4:30 pm 
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Francesco Zappa is clearly Frank's best orchestral work.


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 Post subject: Re: LSO
PostPosted: Mon Jan 07, 2013 8:23 pm 
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Ronny's Noomies wrote:
You're not wrong. But Yellow Shark rules all.

LSO also became one of my favorites - but why Yellow Shark? I'm curious. I have written it somewhere else: to me Yellow Shark is simply no good, not the best performances, etc etc. I'm curious about what you see in that album.


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 Post subject: Re: LSO
PostPosted: Mon Jan 07, 2013 10:02 pm 
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Great song selection. Very good recording and sound. Cool arrangements. I like LSO too, but to me YS rocks. Plus, it has G Spot. And I loves me some G Spot.

It's a matter of taste, I guess.

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 Post subject: Re: LSO
PostPosted: Tue Jan 08, 2013 2:08 am 
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LSO was the first of the orchestral Zappa cds that I bought when I first got into him.
I've always found the pieces intriguing, very pleasing to listen to and somehow very un-Zappa like (apart from the older pieces referenced in Bogus Pomp and Strictly Genteel obviously).
There are some very moving sections and even some scary bits. The opening to Mo n Herb's vacation on the clarinet (?) is awesome and at some point during one of the movements of that piece is that extremely loud fog horn type sound effect. The first time I heard that it made jump out of my skin. I can remember many years later dozing off in the bath with the cd on and that bit came blaring out of the speakers almost giving me a heart attack!
Many of the tracks on this cd really don't sound like Zappa's other orchestral work. Unlike Yellow Shark which is what Zappa would have sounded like if you sliced him in half.
I also love the opening drums / percussion to Sad Jane and the percussion at the very end of Envelopes - must have been very powerful to have been in the studio listening to the LSO recording that. It certainly sounds incredible on my system.

I'm gonna have to bring that cd to work with me tomorrow and blast it out in the car :wink:

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 Post subject: Re: LSO
PostPosted: Tue Jan 08, 2013 5:19 am 
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I believe Zappa had little time for the LSO recordings, and was massively impressed with the Ensemble Modern. But to me the music on TYS is simply not as good as the compositions on LSO 1 and 2.

What about The Perfect Stranger. Where does that rate amongst us?


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 Post subject: Re: LSO
PostPosted: Tue Jan 08, 2013 5:24 am 
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balint wrote:
Ronny's Noomies wrote:
You're not wrong. But Yellow Shark rules all.

LSO also became one of my favorites - but why Yellow Shark? I'm curious. I have written it somewhere else: to me Yellow Shark is simply no good, not the best performances, etc etc. I'm curious about what you see in that album.


I think The Yellow Shark is a fine album because --

- it simply sounds good to me and I'm moved by the music

- the programme has a good balance between new arrangements of classic tunes, topical performance pieces and truly heavy modern composition

- it has a very competent modern music ensemble interpreting Zappa's music after an extensive rehearsal period with the maestro, instructing them to his vision

- the smaller orchestra seems better fitted to much of Zappa's (chamber) music than the large LSO

- the ensemble is trained in eclectic and satirical modernist music through extensive work with composers like Kurt Weill and Helmut Lachenmann and is also well equipped to tackle the most abstract Webernesque pieces, like Times Beach II

- overall it is the most comprehensive presentation of Zappa the composer to date

TYS has its shortcomings - the rhythm section is of course stiffer than Bozzio/Richards - but with all the pros I have mentioned it is a succesful presentation of Zappa's music for small symphonic orchestra and an essential part of the work. LSO has some good stuff, but even David Ocker complains about its faults. Have you even considered the stiff, inflated Bogus Pomp and the halting Strictly Genteel when you praise the LSO recordings? Given the resources, the programme of LSO could have been bettered by many a compentent symphony orchestra, while The Yellow Shark was an unrepeatable event, like the Royce Hall concerts.

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 Post subject: Re: LSO
PostPosted: Tue Jan 08, 2013 5:44 am 
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the thing that bugs me the most about some of Frank's orchestral work is his use of a drumset, it simply doesn't have the same punch a group of percussionists would get performing those same parts. the Ensemble Modern performances are my favorite of Frank's serious music. when i hear their executions of some of the pieces, i think it's evident that they were genuinely interested and took the time it takes to correctly perform such difficult passages/timbres. i personally don't get that passion and feel with the other orchestral performances of Frank's music.

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 Post subject: Re: LSO
PostPosted: Tue Jan 08, 2013 5:48 am 
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ChrisPaul wrote:
I believe Zappa had little time for the LSO recordings, and was massively impressed with the Ensemble Modern. But to me the music on TYS is simply not as good as the compositions on LSO 1 and 2.

What about The Perfect Stranger. Where does that rate amongst us?


I think it's hard to rate. It has excellent stuff, but feels clinical. The direct opposite of Orchestral Favorites, which is the most humanly attractive specimen of Zappa's orchestral writing to my ears, apart from Lumpy Gravy.

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 Post subject: Re: LSO
PostPosted: Tue Jan 08, 2013 6:29 am 
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ChrisPaul wrote:
What about The Perfect Stranger. Where does that rate amongst us?

I like it, and I tend ti like it more and more as time goes by. The tiny details, the mixture of live and machine music, the quality of it... I really like it!


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 Post subject: Re: LSO
PostPosted: Tue Jan 08, 2013 6:49 am 
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DC Boogie wrote:
I think it's hard to rate. It has excellent stuff, but feels clinical. The direct opposite of Orchestral Favorites, which is the most humanly attractive specimen of Zappa's orchestral writing to my ears, apart from Lumpy Gravy.


I'm not trying to sound controversial but I can't stand Orchestral Favourites. The cheesy sound of the drum kit makes it sound like a movie score in parts and the harmonica on Strictly Genteel? :|
Lumpy Gravy however, is, like TYS a piece of FZ

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 Post subject: Re: LSO
PostPosted: Tue Jan 08, 2013 7:03 am 
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thenoisydrum wrote:
DC Boogie wrote:
I think it's hard to rate. It has excellent stuff, but feels clinical. The direct opposite of Orchestral Favorites, which is the most humanly attractive specimen of Zappa's orchestral writing to my ears, apart from Lumpy Gravy.


I'm not trying to sound controversial but I can't stand Orchestral Favourites. The cheesy sound of the drum kit makes it sound like a movie score in parts and the harmonica on Strictly Genteel? :|
Lumpy Gravy however, is, like TYS a piece of FZ

I don't mind that view at all - it sounds like an honest appreciation of FZ 8)

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 Post subject: Re: LSO
PostPosted: Tue Jan 08, 2013 8:26 am 
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DC Boogie wrote:
I think The Yellow Shark is a fine album...

Thanks for your comment, it will make me listen to this album a few more times nowadays, who knows, I might change my view... But for now: The Yellow Shark has too much "mistakes" for me: the boring sound and spirit of the drums, the "trying to be funny" recitative parts (I simply cannot get used to them, I dont like them: the voices), the tunes thet have much better versions elsewhere (Bebop, Magnesium, G-Spot - the extremely monotonous drum in the latter one...).
Right now I can add (being more subjective) that the sound on LSO is much coherent to me then on the Yellow Shark.

Quote:
Have you even considered the stiff, inflated Bogus Pomp and the halting Strictly Genteel when you praise the LSO recordings?

Well, when talking about LSO I always think of the first CD: all new compositions, fine sound, fine musicians. I LOVE it: Sad Jane and the others... I almost never listen to the second one: mostly over-represented pieces, in the same (or better) quality elsewhere. On the other hand I also like Bogus Pomp (what is "stiffy" here?, why is it "inflated"?), I've never considered Strictly Genteel "bad", I cannot imagine where the "mistakes" are, I'm really curious. (To me Orchestral Favorites is more strange, with the sound of some plastic synthetiser... (?)... is it harmonica?...)

Quote:
Given the resources, the programme of LSO could have been bettered by many a compentent symphony orchestra, while The Yellow Shark was an unrepeatable event, like the Royce Hall concerts.

To me - LSO is a quality recording (the first CD), with all-new, exciting pieces, with really atomic and lively drum-accompaniment, a finely kept-together orchestra. It's also amazing to think of the 2 hours live concert with the puppet-ballett it 1984... It WAS a huge event, with ALL NEW music, including Sinister Footwear I-II-III!.. Now THAT was something! :-)

Yellow Shark to me at the moment is a "best of" tribute to the Master, with some not-so-funny jokes and performances of old pieces that had better versions before. There are excellent moments, too (Valdez, Exercise, Whitey, etc.), but the whole thing is not at all equally good (that's why Amnerica was omitted).

But again: I will give it some more try, of course. :-)


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 Post subject: Re: LSO
PostPosted: Tue Jan 08, 2013 8:45 am 
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Just a tiny addition, really interesting, From John Lawley (oboe, LSO):

Quote:
aj: Do you own a copy of the cd? What was the general consensus of the orchestra?

jl: I remember the orchestra being pleased with the end result but being absolutely exhausted! I do own a copy. He [FZ] threw a champagne or drinks party at the end so he couldn't have been that unhappy!


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 Post subject: Re: LSO
PostPosted: Tue Jan 08, 2013 9:17 am 
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He was probably relieved that this ordeal was over. I do not remember Frank trashing the effort. I like LSO better than TYS. I haven't listened to The Perfect Stranger in years, guess I will give it a spin.

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 Post subject: Re: LSO
PostPosted: Tue Jan 08, 2013 9:42 am 
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Except for the title track, which I do not get fully, the Boulez album is very good too.

I agree, CD1 of LSO is fantastic.

Yellow Shark is great too, the skill of the musicians playing the most crazy music is awsome...

Lumpy Gravy has the highest sauce rate, though. Oh No can't be beaten...

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 Post subject: Re: LSO
PostPosted: Tue Jan 08, 2013 2:24 pm 
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Yellow Shark will always have that special taste for me because I was able to watch the LIVE tv broadcast of the show on the evening it happened, and as you can guess that is an incredible souvenir ! Almost two hours of *new* Zappa music live on tv ! And featuring the newest material he ever wrote at the time. I remember having read the "Guitar Player" Special about Frank a few weeks before that, in which he talked about this upcoming show and what he wanted to do. Frank seemed so moved, at the very end of the show, when the camera shows him sitting along in his trailer and you can still hear the applause from the crowd.

You have to put the recitative pieces into perspective: they were like recreative windows during a very demanding performance. A way for the musicians to have fun, and a nod to the humor FZ used to put into his rock live shows. Plus, Frank conducted those pieces himself. Those were precious moments, I can tell you. Of course on the cd you miss the visual element of those two comedy pieces. Seeing them being performed is delightful.

Then I also absolutely love LSO, which contains some of the most important orchestral material he wrote.

But Yellow Shark was something special, and something "real", in 93. Little did we knew that a few months later....... :(


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 Post subject: Re: LSO
PostPosted: Tue Jan 08, 2013 5:17 pm 
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Mr_Green_Genes wrote:
...Lumpy Gravy has the highest sauce rate, though...

LG is my strongest candidate in the category best FZ-album for years, but not necessarily my favourite serious album.
LSO was recorded under bad sonic circumstances. That was the reason why FZ was forced to produce it like a pop album with all this reverb and echo. So this impressing soundspace is an accidental plan-B result but maybe an important reason, why LSO is so overwhelming? Did anyone mention 200 motels? It is incredibly good but suffers from relative poor sound quality. Maybe it gained more attention if it just sounded better? Also a great release is ahead of their time. I like them all. Some stuff on YS is a little bit boring to me, other stuff absoluteley amazing. LSO never bores me. 200 motels is great as film and also great as album. ahead of... i mostly only listen to the first half. The perfect stranger is also great, i wish there was more music with Boulez. Just some thoughts on the topic, i wouldn't dare to prefer one specific of these albums.

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 Post subject: Re: LSO
PostPosted: Tue Jan 08, 2013 6:41 pm 
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Lumpy Gravy is possibly FZ most underated release IMHO... :smoke:


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 Post subject: Re: LSO
PostPosted: Tue Jan 08, 2013 7:13 pm 
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DC Boogie wrote:
ChrisPaul wrote:
I believe Zappa had little time for the LSO recordings, and was massively impressed with the Ensemble Modern. But to me the music on TYS is simply not as good as the compositions on LSO 1 and 2.

What about The Perfect Stranger. Where does that rate amongst us?


I think it's hard to rate. It has excellent stuff, but feels clinical. The direct opposite of Orchestral Favorites, which is the most humanly attractive specimen of Zappa's orchestral writing to my ears, apart from Lumpy Gravy.


Perhaps the songs in LSO are better, but for me YS is superior. One real reason? The musicians playing on YS were not there simply for a paycheck. Ensemble Modern actually wanted to play his music, and you can tell.

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 Post subject: Re: LSO
PostPosted: Tue Jan 08, 2013 9:24 pm 
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It's cool that pretty much all of Frank's orchestral forays are getting significant admiration here. I like all I've heard thus far, myself, and am looking forward to getting know it better and/or acquainted with what I haven't as of yet (TYS probably the most for the occasion and/or tribute aspect, as likely sad as that will be for me too). 8)

I'm unsure, without checking into it, as to whether any live orchestral performance material was actually used in this album- seem to recall hearing old classical tracks from LG were incorporated or sampled into the mix in places or something- but, having just had my first listen to CPIII earlier today, and that, regardless, the content of that works has to probably be recognized as modern classical material, I was mightily impressed by what was created here...just really reciprocated with it and found it instantly accessible and appealing, and, of course, the hilarity of much of the improvised dialogue really complemented it and bound it together nicely; really was in the mold of LG, which I've relatively recently grown to love. Looking forward to getting to know this one better too. :smoke:


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 Post subject: Re: LSO
PostPosted: Wed Jan 09, 2013 12:11 am 
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Almost all of FZ's classical/orchestral/chamber music is enjoyable to me. But The Yellow Shark takes the cake. Outrage At Valdez is perfection. And the re-arrangements of The Dog Breath Variations & Uncle Meat are extraordinary. And as others have pointed out, The Ensemble Modern liked his music enough to want to perform it well, unlike the indifferent attitude of most other orchestras he worked with...

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