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Boulez Conducts Zappa: The Perfect Stranger

4.3 out of 5 stars 17 customer reviews

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Audio CD, September 25, 2012
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Editorial Reviews

BOULEZ CONDUCTS ZAPPA:PERFECT STRANGE

Product Details

  • Audio CD (September 25, 2012)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Zappa Records
  • ASIN: B008PPUNJK
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #50,391 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Christian Fulghum on 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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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I am torn. Torn between which is Frank's best orchestral album. But then again there's no real point in trying to determine which is the best. They're all great. Lumpy Gravy, 200 Motels, Orchestral Favorites, LSO, Perfect Stranger. Haven't listened to Yellow Shark yet even though I've been a Zappa fan since I was 14 (I'm now 31). I'm waiting for the right moment to listen to it and also I'm sad because it's his last album (Phaze III was released in 1994).

Boulez did a great job. LSO annoyed me a little bit because they were acting like a bunch of jerks when Frank was paying them so much. The LSO weren't able to handle the complexity of Frank's music. I'm willing to bet they can't handle Varese's music either (though I haven't listened to any recordings by LSO of Varese's music).

So it's a toss between Orchestral Favorites and Perfect Stranger. I love both. Perfect Stranger has the edge though... it has Frank's synclavier and contains his darkest piece - Jonestown.
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Format: Audio CD
All I can say after having read some of the reviews by these banal twits who couldn't carry Frank's shoes is "G Spot Tornado." Pojama people, especially the classical "experts." Remember this folks, Pierre Boulez CHOSE to do this. That should clear up some of the debate. And it's like Frank himself said, "I don't want to spend my entire life explaining myself. You either get it or you don't." And seriously, rock/jazz/blues fans don't listen to opera or attend Alban Berg recitals? Really?I have, and I'm not alone, and I've been a Zappa fan since 1969. Poots.
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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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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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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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Quite amazing musical ideas and performance!
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Enjoyed every min
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