Reviews of LCO's Frank Zappa performance at the Roundhouse

Monday 15 November 2010
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Ivan Hewett, Daily Telegraph
Wednesday 10 November 2010

“With the evening’s main event, a performance of Zappa’s orchestral album The Yellow Shark, the orchestra and its conductor, Hugh Brunt, came alive. This medley of pieces for a large, hard-edged, brass- and percussion-heavy ensemble was originally made by Zappa for the crack German Ensemble Modern. Much of the material was originally created on a digital keyboard, and has fearsomely complex rhythms. But Zappa insisted on what he called “style”, a personal imprint, as well as hair-trigger accuracy.

Some players impressed on both counts. Oboist Anna Turmeau produced a heroically big sound on the track Times Beach II, and pianists Antoine Françoise and Chris Hopkins made the Stockhausen-like musings of Ruth is Sleeping seem purposeful and musical. The hugely difficult modernist sections, such as Questi Cazzi di Piccione, were impressively carried off, and the more satirical sections, such as Be-Bop Tango, had plenty of snarl and swagger.”

Steve Lomas, Classical Source
Friday 12 November 2010

“The glistening curlicues and tendrils of the Boulez homage The Girl in the Magnesium Dress were quite overwhelming in their cumulative effect. Gentle amplification brought out the inner workings of the wind and string quintet segments, including a blistering Questi Cazzi di Piccione which easily trumped Ensemble Modern’s version in its sheer unreasonableness. The committed direction of LCO artistic director and principal conductor Hugh Brunt drew dynamic performances throughout from the mainly young players and the closing G-Spot Tornado brought the house down, as intended.”

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