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Frank Zappa - Orchestral Favorites CD (album) cover

ORCHESTRAL FAVORITES

Frank Zappa

 

RIO/Avant-Prog

3.34 | 125 ratings

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tarkus1980
Prog Reviewer
2 stars NOTE: These are thoughts I originally jotted down about this album before I heard parts of it in proper context, in the full Lšther album.

And so the final tally of the Lšther era is: one solidly good-but-unspectacular live album, and three mediocre studio albums speckled with occasional moments of brilliance. Yup, trying to make a quadruple album was a great idea there, Frank.

Anyway, like the other elements of Lšther, this was released without Frank's approval by his (by now) former distribution company, and contains but five tracks, three of which were intended for Frank's would-be magnum opus. One of the five tracks, "Naval Aviation in Art," is only about a minute-and-a-half long, and reminds me of one of the short 200 Motels blurbs, so it ends up kinda ignored by me. Of the remaining four, I like two: "Duke of Prunes" is a nice treatment of this piece from Absolutely Free, with Frank's guitar taking the place of the vocals of the original in places, and horns taking over at other places, while the other instruments do, well, their orchestral thing. "Strictly Genteel" (which wasn't intended for Lšther, oddly enough) is verrrrrrry pretty here (it was one of the few 200 Motels pieces I liked, after all), with the main theme handled well and with somebody playing a gorgeous harmonica solo (if a harmonica solo can be called gorgeous) in the middle. Yup, if there's a reason to buy this album, it's "Strictly Genteel."

The other two tracks sound hideous to me, though. "Pedro's Dowry" is just a bunch of dissonant clatter that goes on for almost eight minutes; enough said. And the closing thirteen- minute "Bogus Pomp" just mirrors its title to me; it sounds like it wants to be bigger and more important than, say, "Strictly Genteel," but it ends up totally full of sound and fury, signifying jack squat. And thus concludes my ignorant foray into analysis of half-assed modern classical.

And that's it! Find some way to get the two great tracks found here, and skip the rest.

tarkus1980 | 2/5 |

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