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Orchestral Favorites is a 1979 album by Frank Zappa, notable for being his first full length Classical Music album. It has been praised for its rich colorful sound and marked the debuts of "Bogus Pomp" and "Pedro's Dowry".

However, at the time, just like Studio Tan (1978) and Sleep Dirt (1978), the album was released by his label Warner Brothers without Zappa's permission. The company had indulged in Executive Meddling on Zappa in New York (1977) and re-released the album in a censored version, which prompted Zappa to sue both Warners and his former manager Herb Cohen for contract violation. As a result Warners froze all of Zappa's production temporarily, while he was forced to continue touring as it was the only way to make new money. To add insult to injury Warners released all these three albums as separate records, while Zappa intended them to appear on a quadruple album (eventually released as 3 CDs) Läther. Not only was this done without his permission, but there were no liner notes or art work prepared, causing the musicians to remain uncredited. Comic strip artist Gary Panter was brought in to design the album cover and sleeve art, without being informed of all this backstabbing.

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Meanwhile Zappa provided a Take That! against Warners by bringing all the tracks from these albums to a local radio station and broadcasting them live on air for his fans to tape and bootleg. Luckily he would eventually win his lawsuit and become owner of his entire catalogue. The CD versions of Studio Tan, Sleep Dirt and Orchestral Favorites give the musicians proper credit, but after Zappa's death most of the material was also made available on the album he originally intended it for: Läther (1996).

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Tracklist:

Side 1
  1. "Strictly Genteel" (7:03)
  2. "Pedro's Dowry" (7:41)
  3. "Naval Aviation In Art" (1:22)

Side 2

  1. "The Duke Of Prunes" (4:20)
  2. "Bogus Pomp" (13:29)

Personnel:

  • Frank Zappa: guitar
  • Michael Zearott: conductor
  • Terry Bozzio: drums
  • Dave Parlato: bass
  • Mike Lang: keyboards
  • Emil Richards: percussion
  • Pamela Goldsmith: viola
  • John Wittenberg and Bobby Dubow: violin
  • Jerry Kessler: cello
  • Bruwe Fowler: trombone
  • Earle Dumler: oboe
  • Mike Altschul: flute, trumpet
  • Malcolm McNabb: trumpet
  • David Duke: French horn
  • Dana Hughes: bass trombone
  • Ray Reed and Dave Shostak: flute
  • Tommy Morgan: harmonica

Orchestral Tropes

  • All There in the Manual: On London Symphony Orchestra (1984) Zappa explains what "Pedro's Dowry" is about and does the same with "Naval Aviation In Art?" on The Perfect Stranger (1984).
  • Call-Back and Continuity Nod:
    • "Strictly Genteel" from 200 Motels is heard here in a (gorgeous) instrumental version.
    • "Strictly Genteel", "Pedro's Dowry" and "Bogus Pomp" would later be orchestrally performed again on London Symphony Orchestra (1984).
    • "Naval Aviation In Art" would later be performed again on The Perfect Stranger (1984).
    • "Duke Of Prunes" was heard with lyrics on Absolutely Free (1967).
    • Most of the tracks here would later re-appear on Läther (1996), except for "Strictly Genteel" and "Bogus Pomp".
    • "Bogus Pomp" was performed live in 1968 during Zappa's legendary Royal Albert Hall concert, which can be heard on "Ahead Of Their Time" (1993) as "Progress?", while "Sealed Tuna Sandwich" from 200 Motels (1971) is also an early predecessor.
  • Classical Music: The music is orchestral, with a rock rhythm section.
  • Cool Shades: The guitar-nosed character wears them on the cover.
  • Epic Rocking: The 7:03 "Strictly Genteel", the 7:41 "Pedro's Dowry" and the 13:29 "Bogus Pomp".
  • Everything Is an Instrument: During "Bogus Pomp" we can hear the musicians clap and cheering at a certain point.
  • Gag Nose: The character on the cover has a guitar for a nose.
  • Instrumentals: All tracks are instrumental.
  • Non-Appearing Title: The album title doesn't appear in any of the tracks.
  • One-Man Song: "The Duke Of Prunes".
  • Shout-Out: On the back cover we can see the head of Goofy.

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