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London Symphony Orchestra Vol. I And Ii [Limited Edition, Import]

Frank Zappa, London Symphony Orchestra Audio CD
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
Price: £68.23
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Product details

  • Audio CD (2 Oct 2006)
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Format: Limited Edition, Import
  • Label: ADA Global
  • ASIN: B00006JL95
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 885,431 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Disc: 1
1. Bob In Dacron-First Movement
2. Second Movement
3. Sad Jane-First Movemnet
4. Second Movement
5. Mo 'N Gerb's Vacation-First Movement
6. Second Movement
7. Third Movement
Disc: 2
1. Bogus Pomp
2. Bob In Dacron
3. Strictly Genteel
4. Unnamed Track

Customer Reviews

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4.3 out of 5 stars
4.3 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Classical Zappa 25 Sep 2006
Format:Audio CD
If you like Zappa's 'classical' music this is an indispensible double CD. Originally released on two seperate vinyl albums, this release puts all the music together nicely.The second disc is the most accessible, mainly because all the music has been heard before on the '200 Motels' , 'Ship Arriving....' and ' Orchestral Favorites' albums. The performance of the

orchestra sounds pretty good to me, but apparently Zappa was far from happy with the results . He claimed the LSO liked going to the pub far too much . The first CD is a bit harder going but on repeated listening yields many pleasures. By far the best track (in my opinion) is Mo 'N' Herb's vacation. This track ( 'Mo's Vacation') was played by the '78 touring band but was never given an official release. It really should have seen the light of day, but it was notoriously difficult to play. It comes across as a more complex version of 'The Black Page', but i think it's superb. 'Sad Jane' and 'Bob In Dacron' are rather good too. All in all a fine album (of its type). Heartily recommended.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What would he have accomplished if he had lived? 19 Sep 2007
By John Ferngrove TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
I've owned a few Zappa albums for some years and I have often promised myself that one day I would give him the full attention he deserved. Well that process got underway a few weeks back, and I've acquired a handful of Zappa discs, and am now intent on acquiring more, lots more. Being a devotee of contemporary "classical" (ugh, I hate that word) music my selection had to include the London Symphony Orchestra set.

The first disc has really grabbed me. I will give the second more attention soon but it's the first that has really got to me. For me, it is as though in this music Zappa finally puts down the clown mask and shows you the true grandeur and beauty in his heart. As such, it's like nothing else in the Zappa canon (that I have encountered so far) and you can only wonder if, in respect of his orchestral composition, he was only just getting going. One can only wonder what might have been forthcoming if he had only lived to a proper old age. The pieces/movements still have the wacky titles but they are pretty irrelevant as they all flow into each other more or less seamlessly. It took me a few plays to get the initial hang of it. You have to kind of pick up from the very first note and then ride it and it will take you to all sorts of amazing places. The LSO does a fine job, despite Frank's scathing complaints (he was very strict after all) and they amply show that as well as being a highly original composer he was the most extraordinary orchestrator, with his instrument groupings full of strange and surprising combinations. Sad Jane, the middle two tracks is, to my ears, particularly beautiful.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Format:Audio CD
I was pleasantly surprised by this album - Zappa wasn't happy with some of the LSO's playing and makes no secret of it in the liner notes for Vol. 2. I thought this would mean a dreary couple of hours worth of avant-garde music with mistakes and bum notes all over the place. Maybe I know nothing about music, but these performances sound fine to me. FZ had to do a few edits here and there - over 50 on 'Strictly Genteel', taking an 11 minute performance down to 7, and he seems to have done a good job - the music sounds beautiful to these ears.
'Bob in Dacron' is first: a piece in two movements, it depicts the titular character getting dressed and going out to get smashed and go on the pull. The music (and liner notes, to be fair) lets us know Zappa's low opinion of such a character, with churning harmonies and electronic "laughboxes" in the mix.
'Sad Jane' is next: a companion piece to the above, it is more reflective and pastoral - parts of it could be Debussy.
After that we have the 28 minute 'Mo 'n Herb's Vacation' which is a combination of a Clarinet solo for David Ocker and a drum solo for Chad Wackerman. The main theme, of which the piece consists of variations, derives from a line in Zappa's 'Wet T-shirt Nite' from Joe's Garage - you figure out which one; needless to say, it's quite surprising to be reminded of mammalian protruberances in a "classical" album such as this.
The second disc consists of new arrangements of older Zappa tunes, and a lot of fans find this disc easier to digest. 'Envelopes', previously glimpsed on the Ship arriving too late to save a Drowning Witch album, is given a lush, slightly slower treatment than before.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.7 out of 5 stars  11 reviews
23 of 26 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Kind of Suprising that the quality was not really there 6 Jun 2003
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
the LSO apparently agreed to forgo their vacation after recording the star wars theme music (I think it was ROTJ)... anyway, after that session they had originally planned to go on a 30 days vacation. That was until the mighty FZ approached them and asked if they would take 400,000 in cash to do his material. Well, if it had been anyone else in Rock music, they most likely would have headed out to vacation.

then there were so many bad experiences between FZ and the orchestra. I have read where the musicians didn't understand why FZ took so much time arranging their chairs 'JUST SO'. These folks should have just shut up and let the master of sound and engineering (and rarely anyone rivaled FZ in this arena) do his thing. then the trumpet playing folks during a break in the sessions got loaded on brew at a pub and played flat on some numbers... which FZ obviously had a problem with.

Of all the interviews I have read from the folks in the orchestra, they seemed to forget that FZ paid for these sessions and wanted things done his way. But, FZ had very little influence on these musicians to be what they were reported to be, MUSICIANS. FZ stated in many interviews that 'The LSO can play most classical music with their eyes closed, but were not really all that good at reading music they didn't know 'by heart.' Which kinda, at the time, really suprised me.

After listening to other orchestras play FZ music (try national philharmonic on 'orchestral favorites' and bootleg berkley orchestra doing 'Sinister Footwear') and you will see just how stiff the LSO seems to be. Considering that the LSO has a reputation of being a 'swinging classical orchestra'. Maybe it was the tension between the master and the pupils.... who knows.

Now, that is not to say the LSO butchered every number, because they didn't. They did manage to do one song wonderfully, and that song was 'STRICTLY GENTEEL'. This is by far my favorite version of this material and WAY WORTH THE PRICE OF THIS SET ALONE. The LSO obviously liked this number a lot, cause they nailed it. And it is terrific. I was disappointed in the music until I heard that song.. and then I was okay with the output.

So, balance this information.. I would not buy this unless you have bought a good many other FZ recordings; and for his classical releases here is my list of ones to get before this one:

1. Yellow Shark. released early 90s. Ensemble Modern. wow.

2. Perfect Stranger. VERY GOOD, but keep in mind there are also synclavier pieces included.

3. Orchestral Favorites. EXCELLENT. Matter of fact this is the best of the four.

Have fun.
24 of 28 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Music great; recording awful. 3 Feb 2005
By B. Kemper - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
I was really excited about these recordings for two reasons: 1). I am a Zappa fan and have long respected and enjoyed his classical compositions (check out "The Yellow Shark", for example), and I wanted to hear his pieces played by a full symphony orchestra, and 2). I am a recording engineer who frequently works with symphony and chamber orchestras and, given FZ's usually high standard of audio recording, I was interested to hear this material.

The good news is that the material really does have merit. While I think the chamber compositions on "Yellow Shark" represent him better on many levels, I enjoyed the compositions on these LSO CD's. The bad news is that the recording quality is so awful I can't listen to it. I won't get too geeky about this, but suffice to say that FZ used 40 or 50 PZM microphones--practically one for every instrument. This technique can work for rock music (though even in rock one would not choose the harsh quality of a PZM type microphone). However in classical music, from the listener's perspective it's like having every flute, every trumpet, every drum, etc. wailing away ten inches in front of your face. It's an assault. It's painful. This is the single most fatiguing recording I have heard in my life. I am a fan of FZ, and if you're reading this review, chances are good that you are too. So buy these recordings if you really want to hear these pieces of music, but for your sake I hope your ears are less easily offended than mine.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Frank Zappa ,London Symphony Orchestra 17 Nov 2007
By D. Carroll - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
This is a must have for Frank Zappa fans.His style shows through the complex arrangments that were done on a tight schedule with very little rehersal.It must have been a challenge for the LSO.This recording is different from what most people think of as Zappa's music,a great work from a legend.Music is the best.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Human Element remains intact" - FZ 14 Jan 2002
By Arckitekt - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
Frank's compositions are tackled by the London Symphony Orchestra of 102 musicians. This is a world class orchestra playing world class instruments built in the 18th and 19th centuries. Even though Frank complained about their professionalism. The musicians were (apparently) in the pub during breaks and made errors as they were unprepared for the complexity of the work. The final product was finished using overdubs and it sounds fantastic. There are no spoken word pieces and the 2 discs seem like one long composition when played in sequence
6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Too Zappa for some, genial to most? 3 Sep 1998
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
So, nobody reviews this one, hey? Well, that figures! And illustrates how much more versatile Zappa is than most of his listeners and fans. LSO is very Zappa, probably too much for those who thnk and write Zappa's world is the pop music business. LSO is a great viewpoint of Zappa's musical concepts, his influences, and relevance for our century's music.
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