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Zappa Goes Large

BBC SO Total Immersion: Frank Zappa

A digital image of a french horn sits in the middle of a blue circle, with pink, yellow, and blue sun rays coming out of the blue circle

For Frank Zappa, the symphony orchestra was the consummate vehicle for musical storytelling. Brad Lubman leads this live streamed evening culminating in Zappa’s acknowledged orchestral masterpieces.

In 1983, Zappa hired the London Symphony Orchestra and recorded 90 minutes of his freest, most imaginative and most wickedly entertaining music. Included on the album was the tear-away invention of 'Pedro’s Dowry', a frantic piece that obsesses over repeated fragments with all the primary-coloured brilliance of a cartoon soundtrack. This rampant hyperactivity finds the perfect counterbalance in 'Sad Jane', which is presented alongside its companion piece 'Bob in Dacron'.

'Mo ‘n Herb’s Vacation' is one of Zappa’s most accomplished large-scale orchestral works. Within its three-movement, theme and variations structure, beauty and aggression mingle, paradoxically embodying the sort of ‘sophisticated’ musical archetype Zappa loved to mock. The concert opens with music by Igor Stravinsky, one of Zappa’s principal musical inspirations.

This performance will end at approximately 9.30pm


To purchase a Day Pass, choose your seat for each of the priced events and ensure you pick 'Total Immersion Day Pass' as the ticket type. Once a seat from each event has been added to your basket, it will add up to the Day Pass ticket price. Entry to the 6.30pm talk is guaranteed for day pass holders. Subject to availability.

Produced by the BBC Symphony Orchestra

Pre-concert talk

18:00 Auditorium 1, Level 4*

An introduction to Frank Zappa and his orchestral music

Free entry. Limited capacity, entry guaranteed to BBC Total Immersion Day Pass holders.

* Please note the change of venue from the one originally advertised

Digital Programme

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