Sinfonietta plays Zappa

It was halfway through Mémoriale, Pierre Boulez's brief and luminescent chamber concerto for flute, that I noticed the rubber chicken hanging from a microphone next to Oliver Coates's cello.

The chicken, it turned out, did not belong to the cellist, but was part of the various Frank Zappa paraphernalia assembled for this celebration of the rock visionary's 70th birthday. The Sinfonietta performed Mémoriale alongside Varèse's Octandre, as these two composers were among the chief inspirations behind Zappa's expansive musical and artistic imagination. Led by Nicholas Collon, the performances were excellent, enhanced if anything by the informal setting and cabaret-style seating. But what of the results of these influences in Zappa's own music? ...

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