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Most of this blog is related in some way to the music, books and films produced by Gonzo Multimedia, but the editor has a grasshopper mind and so also writes about all sorts of cultural issues which interest him, and which he hopes will interest you as well.

Monday, 28 October 2013

Classical review: Zappa piece is full of symphonic fun

Classical review: Zappa piece is full of symphonic funMONTREAL - Some concerts are defined as much by the audience as the repertoire. Such an event was the OSM Éclaté program of Saturday night, performed substantially for the urban up-and-comers of the Young Ambassadors Club, who partied on in the lobby of the Maison symphonique after the final chord of Frank Zappa’s Bogus Pomp faded away.

Bogus Pomp aroused curiosity for a few reasons, not least the fact that Kent Nagano knew the composer and recorded the piece in 1983. Far from the rock pastiche we might have feared, it opened with a 20th Century Fox-like fanfare and continued in cinematic mode for several minutes before musicians began to stand up and sit down, making the satiric intent clear.

Hijinks ensued. The principal viola had a running battle with the brass and the principal cello lifted his instrument under his chin as if it were a violin. Players at the rear of the stage puffed on cigarettes during the final seconds.

There was just enough dissonance to guard against our taking the tonal idiom at face value. Occasionally a dance beat broke out. Yet there was nothing edgy in the satire or caustic in the clash of styles. Rather, one sensed the exuberance of a Californian who found Hollywood, and America, likable for all their absurdity.


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