June 17, 2009 – 7:50 pm

There is a moment when soprano Ana Maria Labin says the four-letter-word from Frank Zappa’s composition The Dangerous Kitchen that you wonder who’s the trespasser.

Click on the panels for a better view or to download artwork.

Paris 2009 [no label, 1CD]
Ensemble de Percussions - Sixtrum - de Montréal
Ensemble de la SMCQ (Société de Musique Contemporaine du Québec)

Live at the Festival Présences, Salle Olivier Messiaen, Maison de la Radio, Paris, France, March 21, 2009. Ex FM stereo. Broadcast May 28, 2009.

If your father tried to show you he could “rock”, or that he was “hip” to your scene, the word ridiculous comes to mind. But when twentysomething rock musicians showed they had the chops to compose suites and movements and invented what is now labelled “progressive rock”, older people sit up and are impressed. Precious and precocious.

A few months ago, French radio recorded a live performance by classical musicians interpreting the progressive and avant garde music of ELP, Yes and Frank Zappa. Using multi-media to “jazz up” proceedings with a large screen projecting distracting images, a solitary programmed grand piano and a full choir singing the chorus of Yes’ Close To The Edge and a punchy but truncated King Crimson’s 21st Century Schizoid Man, the listener must ask whether standards have been breached.

All expertly arranged, these explorations of prog rock by classically-trained musicians stay close to the original with hardly any room to improvise. Not that classical musicians improvise very much. That folks is the difference between the anything-goes attitude of youth and the strait-jacketed culture of the classics. So even when they try to “rock”, prog rock is still too simple for them.

The track here that is perhaps the most interesting by virtue of its limited circulation is H.K. Gruber’s ’70s recording, Frankenstein!! Not to be confused with the rock instrumental by Edgar Winter Group, Gruber’s monster is a rock opera with a stack of lyrics and half an hour long. Of them all, Gruber’s is the only one whose music is complex and can be appreciated by both sides as avant pop or as a wordy opera.

Here is a project where the talent overwhelms the compositions. Still it is a curio for prog rock fans to listen. Excellent FM stereo broadcast shared by Cosmikd. The French DJ speaks after each song and these are isolated as individual tracks.
- Professor Red

Note: Click on the highlighted tracks to download the MP3s (these are high quality MP3s - sample rate of 192 kbps). As far as we can ascertain, these tracks have never been officially released on CD.

Due to the size of some of the files, please be very patient when downloading the tracks. It could be that the server was very busy. Please try again later. Kindly email us at [email protected] if you encounter persistent problems downloading the files.

Track 01. Intro by Cécile Gilly 1:16 (1.7MB)
Track 02. Tarkus (Emerson, Lake & Palmer) 7:35 (10.4MB)
Track 03. Intro 1:01 (1.4MB)
Track 04. Close to the Edge (Yes) 8:26 (11.5MB)
Track 05. Intro 1:05 (1.5MB)
Track 06. The Dangerous Kitchen (Frank Zappa) 5:21 (7.3MB)
Track 07. Intro 0:32 (775k)
Track 08. 21st Century Schizoid Man (King Crimson) 2:16 (3.1MB)
Track 09. Intro 1:04 (1.4MB)
Track 10. Frankenstein!! (HK Gruber) 29:54 (41.0MB)
Track 11. Outro 0:27 (657k)
TT: 58:57m

Maîtrise de Radio France
Ensemble de Percussions « Sixtrum » de Montréal
Ensemble de la SMCQ (Société de Musique Contemporaine du Québec)
Sofi Jeannin (choir direction) Tk 4
René Bosc (direction) Tks 2,4,8
Walter Boudreau (direction) Tk 10
Ana Maria Labin (soprano) Tk 6
Simon Fournier (baritone) Tk 10


The song here that most of you would not have heard before is H.K. Gruber’s Frankenstein!! It’s a comedy, avant garde moment originally released in the ’70s. You can buy the original version here.

  1. 3 Responses to “WHEN CLASSICAL GOES ****”

  2. the milk is all klabbered

    By Timmy on Jun 19, 2009

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  2. Jun 19, 2009: Playlist von “sal | about | music” #5, 18.06.2009 | blog.about-music.de
  3. Nov 4, 2012: roio » Blog Archive » BRITTEN SINFONIA - FRANK ZAPPA AND THE FATHERS OF INVENTION 1998

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