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Boulez Conducts Zappa: Perfect Stranger

Frank ZappaAudio CD
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)

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Audio CD, 2012 $11.99  
Audio Cassette, Original recording reissued, 1992 --  

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Composer, guitarist, singer, and bandleader Frank Zappa was a singular musical figure during a performing and recording career that lasted from the 1960s to the '90s. His disparate influences included doo wop music and avant-garde classical music; although he led groups that could be called rock & roll bands for much of his career, he used them to create a hybrid style that bordered on ... Read more in Amazon's Frank Zappa Store

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Boulez Conducts Zappa: Perfect Stranger + London Symphony Orchestra Vols. I & II [2 CD] + Baby Snakes
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (September 25, 2012)
  • Original Release Date: 2012
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Zappa Records
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #83,511 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Editorial Reviews

Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
4.1 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Frank Zappa's Place in Musical History Confirmed February 14, 2013
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
Because of his irreverent and outspoken public persona, some mistakenly consider Frank Zappa to be simply a humorist with chops, playing ornately complex music for uber-nerds. This record helps to set the record straight: Zappa is one of the most important American composers of the second half of the twentieth century, who released more than fifty albums in his too-short life. Hearing his music played with full orchestration helps to make the case for the enduring power and quality of his compositions, both as pieces of music, and social commentary.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Format:Audio CD
While this is not FZ's greatest instrumental album of orchestral or synclavier pieces, it is still a very good sample of some of Zappa's entertaining pieces that proved he could be just as good a composer of serious music as he could with comedy rock.

Tracks 1, 2, 4 are performed by a Frecnh orchestra conducted by Pierre Boulez while tracks 3, 5, 6 and 7 are performed without any human musicians on the "synclavier" machine.

The best piece on the album is track 4 (Dupree's Paradise). This "Dupree's Paradise" is the definitive version, surpassing the 24 minute version found on YCDTOSA vol. 2 and even the faster, big-band version found on "make a jazz noise here."

In other words, a beautiful, moving and relaxing piece.

Track 1 (The Perfect Starnger) makes its premiere here and is very experimental in the Stravinsky/Varese sort of way that Zappa occasionally emulated. Not a bad piece but nothing special either.

"Naval aviation in art?" is also heard here. However, this version is inferior to the original (and shorter) version found on the "orchestral favorites" album.

While "the girl in the magnesium dress" and "love story" are mediocre synclavier pieces, "Outside now again" is perhaps Zappa's most relaxing, yet simultaneously suspenseful, synclavier piece. ***A perfect track to put on "repeat" while reading or doing chores.

"jonestown" is a synclavier piece that would be the perfect composition in a very scary horror movie.

All in all, a great listen.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good selection for hard core Zappa fans April 21, 2007
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
The CD is a collection of pure classical music for the most part, with a few synthesizer tunes thown in for good measure. The classical stuff is what I would expect classical music to sound like if Zappa wrote it. Then he does his own synth stuff that sounds like Tron runs amok. Somehow, the two different styles blend together well and seem to fit in this presentation. The packaging is very detailed. The liner notes are presented in multiple languages besides English and all musicians are credited. I'm glad I bought it. But then again, I'm a Zappa nut. :)
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4.0 out of 5 stars No Disappointments... Surprisingly Good! May 28, 2013
Format:Audio CD
Frank Zappa's orchestral music is generally not well received, likely by fans of his humour and rock music. Me, I hear Frank's unmistakable sound throughout this fine modern style classical work. The synclavier numbers are very enjoyable and not outdone by Pierre Boulez' superb Ensemble Intercontemporain. At just over 35 minutes, the album is a bit short, especially considering the high price, but it is surprisingly good and has no disappointments!
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars More naturally uncommon than them I die July 28, 2013
Format:Audio CD
You must not believe what Frank Zappa tells you what the music signifies, expresses or even means. It might be what he had in mind at the time of his starting the composition, but notes do not work like words and music like language. So it cannot mean all the gibberish English he uses to manipulate us into believing music is an articulated language like English Arabic or Chinese. It is of course not.

So what meaning can we find in this music?

A tremendous amount.

First there is the project of Pierre Boulez, a composer of symphonic music considered as classical, though he is contemporary; Pierre Boulez a conductor that has conducted operas by Wagner, Alban Berg, and many others, concerts of the best classical music, some of the most famous orchestras and musicians, soloists or not; Pierre Boulez whose music is performed in the best and most elegant if not most fashionable concert halls all over the world; Pierre Boulez who conducts here Frank Zappa, that Californian pop music composer and performer who is generally best served in amplified music concert halls in front of audiences that would probably most of them never go to an opera by Mozart or Richard Strauss, or a symphony by Schoenberg or Haydn. This then is incongruous, surprising, astonishing. These two people are so far apart and here they meet.

What is then interesting in this adventure is the music which is typically American in many ways. First of all it is expressive in such a way that you can recognize this or that sound from real life, this or that situation in real life. It is impressionistic too and it tries to impress you with emotions, sentiments. In many ways it is music for a film but you only have the music and not the film, so that you have to invent the pictures, imagine them.
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Girl In the Magnesium Dress -- a classic June 6, 2003
Format:Audio CD
This is a cd of half orchestration from an actual orchestra, and half orchestration from a synclavier... but the highlight for me is an orchestration from a synclavier called Girl in the magnesium dress. quite an accomplishment. I love it. worth the price of admission alone. NO disrespect to Boulez but his renditions of FZ work needs a lot of help.. the work is great, but as another reviewer noted, Boulez didn't do it justice. Boulez might not 'get it'
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