KPFA-FM Music Dept. ➔ Speaking of Music: Frank Zappa (1984), 2 of 2

Digital Audio


Event Type
Interview and Music
Identifier
SOM.1984.05.20.c1.B
Program Series
Speaking of Music
Program Length
134 min
Part
2 of 2
Dates
1984-08-05 | broadcast
| 1984-05-20 | created
Description
In an interview recorded on May 20, 1984, before a live audience as part of the San Francisco Exploratorium's Speaking of Music series, Charles Amirkhanian speaks with Frank Zappa about his forays into, and subsequent retreat from, the world of so called “serious” music.

Introductions are made by Frank Oppenheimer, the founding Director of the Exploratorium.

Zappa begins his remarks with the proclamation that Art in America is dead. He then lays the blame for its moribund state on schools that have ceased to educate, a mass media that only entertains but never explores, and the tendency of those who do still attend cultural events to be only interested in being seen and drinking copious amounts of white wine. During the first half of the program Zappa plays excerpts from a number of projects, including performances of his music by the London Symphony Orchestra and Ensemble InterContemporain, as well as a number of works composed on the Synclavier, one of the first digital synthesizers. The later part of the program is devoted to a reading of a hilarious play Zappa had written about the obscure 18th century Italian composer, and possible namesake, Francesco Zappa. Interspersed among the music and readings, Zappa takes rapid fire questions from the enthusiastic crowd, who are not disappointed by his sometimes outrageous answers and anecdotes, be it about faking a chamber music performance, the deceleration that tobacco is food, composing minimal music using an Echoplex and a chimpanzee, or simply talking about touring, upcoming releases, and his children’s careers. All in all it is a remarkable program that offers an opportunity to investigate aspects of Frank Zappa’s art that fans of his rock music may be unaware of but which will not fail to amuse or illuminate.
Genres
Popular music
Avant-garde
Musical Selections
He’s So Gay [from “Thing-Fish”] (ca. 1980-84) (2:46) / Frank Zappa -- Opus I, No. 3 [2nd movement, Presto] (1765, arr. 1984) (1:50) / Francesco Zappa [arr. by Frank Zappa] -- Opus I, No. 6 [2nd movement: Minuet] (1765, arr. 1984) (2:01) / Francesco Zappa [arr. by Frank Zappa] -- Opus I, No. 1 [2nd movement: Allegro con Brio] (1765, arr. 1984) (1:23) / Francesco Zappa [arr. by Frank Zappa] -- Francesco: The almost fictional life or an obscure Italian composer” [a play] (36:13) / Frank Zappa -- [unidentified excerpt] (1765, arr. 1984) (3:03) / Francesco Zappa [arr. by Frank Zappa]
Performers
Calvin Ahlgren, speaker (Francesco)
Subjects
Rock music
Musicals -- Excerpts
Trio sonatas (Synthesizer) -- Excerpts, Arranged
Computer music