Over at Ketchup Is A Vegetable, Brady Bonk is listening to The Yellow Shark. This is real commitment, people, this needs to be taken very seriously. And the posts are great. After my last post regarding the LSO recordings, perhaps a brief history of Zappa's orchestral music deserves mention.
I suppose the first foray is 1967's Lumpy Gravy, almost completely instrumental, and featuring a full orchestra. The great music is interspersed with inane raps and bits of conversation, but the big inventions are there. Oh No, King Kong, Envelopes and several others are fine, but it is a hard listen today. Frank was really pushing it, and he wasn't quite fully developed, but you've gotta admire the cajones it took to release it in 1967.
The Grand Wazoo, should count, but that is really a record made for a big band (the jazz kind), not a big orchestra.
The first LSO recording was released in 1983, and shortly on it's heals was Boulez Conducts Zappa: The Perfect Stranger 1984, with many a homage to Varese, whom Boulez also promoted as a unique 20th century composer. It's a pretty fine record, and certainly challenging enough. If you're ready for Frank's modern classical music, here you go. Boulez is a great conductor, but he seems to take some of the crazy out of Zappa's work. LSO Volume 2 Came out in 1987.
Brady's blog this Zappadan doesn't make you run out and buy the record, it's a real shame. Unless you don't like it. Zappa made enough fine, almost regular rock records, plenty of jazz-rock, and tons of wacky rock-jazz hybrids (with a pinch of doo-wop) to please anyone, but these orchestral works may very well be the ones Zappa himself most wanted you to hear.
23 hours ago