Orchestral Favorites

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Orchestral Favorites
Live album by Frank Zappa
Released May 4, 1979
Recorded Royce Hall, UCLA
September 19, 1975
Genre Symphonic rock
Length 33:57
Label DiscReet
Producer Frank Zappa
Frank Zappa chronology
Sheik Yerbouti
(1979)
Orchestral Favorites
(1979)
Joe's Garage Act I
(1979)
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 3/5 stars[1]

Orchestral Favorites is an album by Frank Zappa first released in May, 1979 on his own DiscReet Records label. The album is instrumental and features music performed by the 37-piece Abnuceals Emuukha Electric Symphony Orchestra.

The album's creation was spurred by Warner Bros.' rejection of Zappa's Läther album. After demanding more albums than Zappa was contractually obliged to provide and reediting the live album Zappa in New York, a lawsuit ensued, during which, Studio Tan, Sleep Dirt and Orchestral Favorites were issued without Zappa's permission.

Background[edit]

In early 1976 Zappa's relationship with manager and business partner Herb Cohen ended in litigation. Zappa and Cohen's company DiscReet Records was distributed by Warner Bros. Records. When Zappa asked for a re-assignment of his contract from DiscReet to Warner in order to advance the possibility of doing special projects without Cohen's involvement, Warner briefly agreed. This led to the 1976 release of Zoot Allures on Warner. Early in 1977, Zappa delivered the master tapes for a quadruple-LP set, entitled Läther, which he intended as his "swan song" for Warner Bros.[2] However, Warner changed its position following legal action from Cohen, and refused to release the album, claiming that Zappa was contractually bound to deliver four more albums to Warner for the DiscReet label.

During 1977 Zappa created the individual albums Zappa In New York, Studio Tan, Sleep Dirt and Orchestral Favorites by re-editing recordings from same batch of tapes that made up the 4-LP configuration.[3] After Warner Bros. released Zappa In New York, they told him that he still owed them four more albums. He then attempted to get a distribution deal with Phonogram to release Läther on the new Zappa Records label. This led Warner to threaten legal action, preventing the release of Läther and forcing Zappa to shelve the project. In 1978 and 1979 Warner finally decided to release the three remaining individual albums they still held, Studio Tan, Sleep Dirt and Orchestral Favorites. As Zappa had delivered the tapes only, these three individual albums were released with no musical credits.[4] Warner also commissioned sleeve art by Gary Panter, which was not approved by Zappa. The material was first released on CD in 1991, along with the Panter's artwork. Panter would later provide additional art for the album when it was reissued in 1995. Much of the material on Studio Tan was made available to the public again in a different form when the alternate version of Läther was posthumously released in 1996.

Content[edit]

Three of the album's five tracks were intended for the shelved Läther album. The music was performed by the 37-piece Abnuceals Emuukha Electric Symphony Orchestra with Terry Bozzio on drums. The material included is primarily sourced from live performances recorded at Royce Hall on the UCLA campus in September, 1975; with additional studio overdubs to correct performance errors. This was the third album by Zappa to use a full orchestra, following Lumpy Gravy and 200 Motels. The album contains an instrumental version of the suite, The Duke of Prunes, originally from the 1967 album Absolutely Free. Zappa plays an electric lead guitar solo with the orchestra on this track. Strictly Genteel was heard earlier as part of the 200 Motels film and soundtrack album. Bogus Pomp is also made up of themes that were used in 200 Motels.

Orchestral Favorites was reissued in a digitally remastered version on CD by Barking Pumpkin in 1991. On the CD version the left and right stereo channels reversed. This CD was reissued again in 1995 by Ryko. Much of the material on the album was made available to the public again when Läther was finally officially released to the public in 1996 after Zappa's death. In 2012, under a new distribution agreement between Gail Zappa (Frank's widow) and Universal Music Group, the CD was reissued yet again under the Zappa Records imprint. Despite new packaging on the label, the content is identical in every one to the version found on other CD releases.

Track listing[edit]

All tracks written, composed and arranged by Frank Zappa.

Side one
No. Title Length
1. "Strictly Genteel"   7:04
2. "Pedro's Dowry"   7:42
3. "Naval Aviation in Art"   1:20
Side two
No. Title Length
1. "Duke of Prunes"   4:20
2. "Bogus Pomp"   13:29

Personnel[edit]

  • Frank Zappa – guitar, keyboards, vocals
  • Mike Altschul – flute and clarinet
  • Terry Bozzio – drums
  • Bobby Dubow – violin
  • David Duke – French horn
  • Earle Dumler – oboe
  • Bruce Fowler – trombone
  • Pamela Goldsmith – viola
  • Dana Hughes – bass trombone
  • Jerry Kessler – cello
  • Mike Lang – keyboards
  • Joann McNab – bassoon
  • Malcolm McNab – trumpet
  • Dave Parlato – bass
  • Ray Reed – flute
  • Emil Richards – percussion
  • David Shostac – flute
  • John Wittenberg – violin

Charts[edit]

Album - Billboard (North America)

Year Chart Position
1979 Pop Albums 168[5]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Ruhlmann, W. (2011). "Orchestral Favorites - Frank Zappa | AllMusic". allmusic.com. Retrieved 21 July 2011. 
  2. ^ Nielsen Business Media, Inc (1996-08-24). Billboard. 
  3. ^ Gail Zappa's liner notes for Läther
  4. ^ FZ vs. Warner Brs. Story or Lather/Laether/Leather, Zappa in New York, Arf.ru
  5. ^ "Charts and Awards for Orchestral Favorites". Allmusic. Retrieved 2008-08-22.