Gramophone is a magazine published monthly in London by Haymarket devoted to classical music, particularly recordings. It was founded in 1923. (wikipedia)

2004 May

Vol. 81 Issue 979


Ensemble Moderne plays Frank Zappa
By K. Smith

 "The idea of Frank Zappa’s compositions becoming repertory music is a delicious irony, though not entirely an accidental one. On one hand, he regarded most classical ensembles as glorified bar bands covering other people’s hits; on the other, he often said he played rock music only because no classical musicians would play his works. For Zappa, seriousness and shock value went hand in hand, and the key to being in his club was knowing how to separate the two." (read more)



2012 November

Vol. 90 Issue 1089


Zappa arranged for the RAM’s new music ensemble
By Philip Clark

  "This album of orchestrated Frank Zappa arrives, as such albums tend to, with a fawning booklet-note by a classical composer – hello Philip Cashian, who’s clearly in love with the Zappa mythology. As Cashian points out, Zappa was indeed a ‘guitarist, songwriter, composer, film-maker, satirist, writer and social and political commentator all rolled into one’ and while, fair comment, it’s true that ‘you could never tell which combinations of those elements would come out in Zappa’s music’, that doesn’t mean everything he touched turned to gold. The big feature here is The Perfect Stranger, which Zappa, with characteristic chutzpah, managed to persuade Pierre Boulez to record in 1974." (read more)



2013 March

Vol. 90 Issue 1094


Rewriting The Rite
By Philip Clark, pp 29-31, 33

"Stravinsky's revolutionary Rite is 100 this year. From Messiaen and Boulez to Reich and Zappa, no musician after Stravinsky could fail to be influenced bu his revolutionary ballet score, writes Philip Clark."

Source: Vitaly Zaremba


2014 November

Vol. 92 Issue 1116


Goebbels. Zappa.
Perfect Strangers
Suite for Sampler and Orchestra from Surrogate Cities
Zappa The Dog Breath Variations/Uncle Meat. Dupree’s Paradise. The Perfect Stranger. G‑Spot Tornado. Revised Music for Low Budget Orchestra
Norwegian Radio Orchestra / Thomas Søndergård
LAWO Classics LWC1063 (69’ • DDD)
By Richard Whitehouse, p 29

Whereas Goebbels provokes, Frank Zappa overwhelms in his desire to confront the listener with his pungent and (almost) invariably ironic worldview. This selection of five orchestral pieces, taken from across his multifarious output, underlines why this most assaultive of rock musicians has posthumously become a composer with whom to reckon – ranging as it does from the sardonic schmaltz of Dog Breath Variations, via the Boulezian textural intricacy of The Perfect Stranger, to the big-band anarchy of Revised Music for Low Budget Orchestra. Famously intolerant of ‘dumbing down’ on whatever level, Zappa demands a commitment from his players such as the Norwegian forces meet admirably. The sound is commendably detailed and upfront, though it is a pity that the stylishness of LAWO’s presentation is rather compromised by the booklet-notes – superficial for Goebbels, wholly inadequate for Zappa.