The "Classical" Frank Zappa

Frank Zappa came to music by Edgar Varèse in his teens and was, according to Pierre Boulez, “hypnotized by [music of] Edgar Varèse.” The influence of this music was not so much that Zappa became a follower of Varèse, but that it stimulated his ambitions to become a composer. On this episode of New Sounds, hear music composed by the late guitarist and innovator, Frank Zappa. Listen to some of his dense and demanding work written for the Ensemble Intercontemporain (and commissioned by Boulez.) Hear The Ensemble Modern, Zappa's "last band," from their recent CD of Zappa’s works, along with brass arrangements of Zappa tunes by the Meridian Arts Ensemble. Plus, Frank Zappa spins Baroque composer Francesco Zappa’s classical pieces on his Synclavier and the Finnish Ensemble Ambrosius plays Zappa's music on Baroque instruments.

PROGRAM #2283, The "Classical" Frank Zappa (First aired 5/12/2004)

Frank Zappa Hot Rats Peaches En Regalia, excerpt [2:00] Rykodisc #10508**
Ensemble Modern/Frank Zappa Greggery Peccary And Other Persuasions Peaches En Regalia [3:00]
A Pig With Wings [4:30]
Revised Music For Low Budget Orchestra [7:30]
What Will Rumi Do? [1:30]
Night School [5:30]
RCA Red Seal 82876-59842 OR direct from EM
Ensemble Ambrosius live Night School [4:30] This performance is available for download from Ensemble Ambrosius' site:
There is a recorded version on the Ensemble Ambrosius' record, "The Zappa Album" BIS/Northern Lights 5013, distr. in the USA by Qualiton Imports
Francesco Zappa/ arr. Frank Zappa Zappa plays Zappa Trio Sonata #1 [3:00] Barking Pumpkin #74202, reissued on Rykodisc #10546 Available through Available for purchase at*
Ensemble Ambrosius live Uncle Meat [4:00] See above.
Duo Sonare Plays Zappa, Debussy, Albeniz, Piazzola Uncle Meat [2:30] Sound Star-ton #31111, out of print, but try (B0000289GJ ) Info about the Duo at
Meridian Arts Ensemble Smart Went Crazy T'mershi Duween [1:39]
Dupree's Paradise [3:00]
Channel Classics #4192,
OR available through
Available for purchase at*
Fireworks First Tracks Zappa: The Black Page #2 [3:30] Available at
Info at

*, ** - Find the recordings you've heard - go to the New Sounds Recordings Information page