View Poll Results: Was Frank Zappa a "classical" composer?

Voters
63. You may not vote on this poll
  • Yes - "classical" composer

    10 15.87%
  • No - at the very least, that would not be the normal understanding of those terms

    26 41.27%
  • Zen-Zappa or Zappa-Zen - he was too versatile a musician to be labelled as any particular type

    34 53.97%
  • Sell out - he was a rotten damned sell out

    6 9.52%
Multiple Choice Poll.
Page 6 of 8 FirstFirst ... 2345678 LastLast
Results 76 to 90 of 107
Like Tree96Likes

Thread: Was Frank Zappa a "classical" composer?

  1. #76
    Senior Member HarpsichordConcerto's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    25 Brook Street, Mayfair
    Posts
    3,993
    Blog Entries
    1

    Default

    I have a CD called Crowning Glory - Musical Heritage of the Netherlands featuring a symphony by Zappa, played by the New Dutch Academy Orchestra (on period instruments), a delightful Classical symphony composed by Zappa; Francesco Zappa (1763-1788).

    Ramako and Renaissance like this.
    All composers are equal but some are more equal than others.

  2. #77
    Senior Member Petwhac's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Posts
    1,082

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by bigshot View Post

    There's nothing wrong with considering Zappa just Zappa. He was one of the greatest musicians of our age, no matter what category.
    Wow, that seems like one hell of an overstatement. By 'our age' I presume you mean from 1960's to present. That's a lot of musicians, including Miles Davies, Coltrane, Brecker, Metheny, Corea, Bill Evans, Hancock, Oscar Petersen, Brubeck....and that is just scratching the surface of the jazzier end of the spectrum. No need to list the classical composers working in that period.
    He certainly was one of a kind and I like a lot of his rock stuff although it can get a tad self indulgent. I'm not very familiar with his classical output but the snippets I have heard sounded quite pleasant if not earth-shattering original. I will try to listen to more.
    Last edited by Petwhac; Aug-06-2012 at 02:11.

  3. #78
    Senior Member bigshot's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Hollywood U.S.A.
    Posts
    3,490
    Blog Entries
    1

    Default

    I know all those jazz cats. They're fantastic, but Zappa was a truly great mind. I'd say in the jazz scene, Bill Evans would be about equivalent. High praise for both of them.
    BurningDesire likes this.

  4. #79
    Senior Member Petwhac's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Posts
    1,082

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by bigshot View Post
    I know all those jazz cats. They're fantastic, but Zappa was a truly great mind. I'd say in the jazz scene, Bill Evans would be about equivalent. High praise for both of them.
    Yes, I'd praise them both. For writing music, Zappa comes out ahead because he wrote so much more than Evans. As an instrumentalist and improvisor, although on different instruments, Evans, hands down.
    Still, these comparisons are pretty meaningless. We can just enjoy their work and leave it at that.
    BurningDesire likes this.

  5. #80
    Senior Member starthrower's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Posts
    2,724

    Default

    I've always enjoyed Zappa's improvisations when he was playing his best. In many instances, his spontaneous compositions are just as interesting as his written pieces. He could really build a solo with great melodic ideas and continuity for 6,7,8 minutes at a time. He was obviously not part of the jazz tradition, nor was he a virtuoso, so comparing him to Coltrane or Bill Evans is unfair, although like Evans, he was influenced by 20th century classical music.

    But for me, Zappa's greatest talent was as an arranger/producer/bandleader. He knew how to put it all together seamlessly on tape, on stage, and with the talent he assembled to bring his music to life. As a composer, he wrote some phenomenal music with beautiful melodies, and very challenging rhythms.

    In the classical realm, I'm not qualified to critique his orchestral compositions, but he was obviously indebted to the modern masters who came before him. He had much love an admiration for Stravinsky, Bartok, Varese, Webern, Ligeti, and even Takemitsu.

    His time in history provided a unique opportunity for someone of his enormous talent and imagination. How many other orchestral composers even in the mid to late 20th century could walk onstage with an electric ensemble, pick up a guitar and perform a highly sophisticated rock concert, entertain an unruly rock n roll audience, and make you laugh at the same time? I can't think of anybody else who could fill those shoes.
    BurningDesire likes this.

  6. #81
    Senior Member BurningDesire's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Posts
    2,347

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by HarpsichordConcerto View Post
    I have a CD called Crowning Glory - Musical Heritage of the Netherlands featuring a symphony by Zappa, played by the New Dutch Academy Orchestra (on period instruments), a delightful Classical symphony composed by Zappa; Francesco Zappa (1763-1788).

    Its kinda silly that they market it as Dutch musical heritage when its an Italian composer. Also, Frank was the first to record any of Francesco's music and bring it to light. :3 Incidentally, from the pieces I have heard, Francesco Zappa was a good 18th century composer.

  7. #82
    Senior Member BurningDesire's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Posts
    2,347

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by starthrower View Post
    ... and make you laugh at the same time?
    Laugh and think In addition to his beautiful and imaginative compositions, I also quite like alot of his song-writing, especially on works like Joe's Garage. I really like when an artist can make what should be just a dirty, low-brow joke, but make it in such a clever way, in an intelligent or poetic way as to make it something really beautiful. Also its always fun when a composer quotes Verdi in a song about certain activities with Catholic girls, or writes a gorgeous aria about getting an unpronouncable disease from the toilet seat.

  8. #83
    Senior Member starthrower's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Posts
    2,724

    Default

    ^^^^^^^^^^^^
    And I have no doubt that the lyrics are what steer a lot of people away from his music. But it was a clever way of selling records to a rock n roll audience. But Zappa liked to take everyday occurrences that made him laugh and turn it into a song. I've always liked Tryin' To Grow a Chin, because it sounds like a rock version of Mozart.

    I was fortunate to attend a show during the 1988 big band tour, and it was pretty cool to hear this incredible band playing stuff like Bartok's 3rd piano concerto, Stravinky's Royal March, the 1812 overture, and excerpts from Carmen, along with FZ's compositions.
    BurningDesire likes this.

  9. #84
    Senior Member chalkpie's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Mid-Hudson Valley, NY
    Posts
    240

    Default

    Zappa was indeed a classical composer and also wore about 50 other hats that all the great guys we talk about on this forum couldn't begin to dream of wearing. For one, he was (and still is ) one of the most unique and brilliant guitar improvisers in any genre period. In terms of Zappa's ability to being able to break down a simple measure of 4/4, in either improvisation or scored notation, I have yet to come across a composer that had the ability and knowledge of being able to subvivide and score tuplet figures in such a detailed and original manner; in a way that you may need a PhD in math to begin to figure out how the numbers add up, and I'm talking about the number of our, or have an unbelievable sense of memory.

    The great Nicholas Slonimsky, who championed and was a personal friend of Zappa, even talked about his melodic sense. he stated something to the effect of not being serialism or twleve-tone, but a unique succession of notes that used a great amount of chromaticism and repeated notes.

    I could go on and on, but when Pierre Boulez commissions you to write for his personal ensemble, as well as one of the most capable and greatest ensembles on planet earth - The Ensemble Modern of Frankfurt, Germany - who had nothing but accolades for FZ's music and stating it was some of the most challenging music that they had ever come across.....the answer is quite simple and yet not so.....

    Yes, FZ was a classical composer and so much more. One of the greatest geniuses of our time. Long live FZ!

    ps - a very underrated score is 200 Motels - pretty shoddy sonics and mediocre performances, bur absolutely gorgeous and brilliant music, as long as you are also ready for some Flo and Eddie!

  10. #85
    Senior Member chalkpie's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Mid-Hudson Valley, NY
    Posts
    240

    Default

    millionrainbows likes this.

  11. #86
    Senior Member chalkpie's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Mid-Hudson Valley, NY
    Posts
    240

    Default


  12. #87
    Senior Member chalkpie's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Mid-Hudson Valley, NY
    Posts
    240

    Default


  13. #88
    Senior Member chalkpie's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Mid-Hudson Valley, NY
    Posts
    240

    Default


  14. #89
    Senior Member clavichorder's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    WA, U.S.
    Posts
    4,123
    Blog Entries
    2

    Default

    It would be very wrong to say that Zappa was a sell out. I voted classical composer, because he could do it. Its not his primary defining feature, but its certainly there even if a lot of people aren't aware of it. The thing about option 2 is that it isn't accurate. There is a lot of Zappa that is pretty "crossover" and gets the classical label, but I heard an orchestral work by him in the concert hall a while back that had a Zappa personality to it, but could have passed for 'serious' 20th century just as much as Leonard Bernstein's 'serious' work does. I can't remember the name of the work unfortunately, its been a while and I had great difficulty finding it on youtube. It was cool music, but like Lenny, the more popular leaning Zappa that still takes advantage of his composer skills is the best Zappa(although some Mothers of Invention songs are pretty cool).

    Edit- I did not realize I could give multiple votes.
    Last edited by clavichorder; Nov-15-2012 at 07:04.
    millionrainbows likes this.

  15. #90
    Senior Member EddieRUKiddingVarese's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    Father of Electronic muse
    Posts
    1,218
    Blog Entries
    14

    Default

    May I suggest that as Frank's Mentor -recently returned from beyond - I would say apart from wanting to grow a mustache also that he was a modern composer- as Frank quoted of me "the modern composer refuses to die!"

Page 6 of 8 FirstFirst ... 2345678 LastLast

Similar Threads

  1. Why: "Worst" Composer is "hotter" than "Favorite" Composer?
    By UniverseInfinite in forum Classical Music Discussion
    Replies: 18
    Last Post: Jan-24-2014, 22:18
  2. Frank Zappa
    By ComposerOfAvantGarde in forum Composer Guestbooks
    Replies: 46
    Last Post: Feb-14-2013, 08:02
  3. Frank Zappa
    By Argus in forum Non-Classical Music
    Replies: 26
    Last Post: Jul-26-2012, 07:40
  4. "Classical Carnival" CD - piece is just labeled "Overture"
    By lindzwc in forum Identifying Music
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: Dec-04-2011, 16:20

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •