Orchestral Favorites

Orchestral Favorites
Orchestral Favorites
Studio album by Frank Zappa
Released May 4, 1979
Recorded Royce Hall, UCLA
September 19, 1975
Genre Classical music
Length 33:57
Label DiscReet
Producer Frank Zappa
Frank Zappa chronology
Sheik Yerbouti
Orchestral Favorites
Joe's Garage Act I
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 3/5 stars[1]

Orchestral Favorites is an album by Frank Zappa first released in May, 1979 on his own DiscReet Records label. The album is instrumental and features music performed by the 37-piece Abnuceals Emuukha Electric Symphony Orchestra. Much of the music on this album is also part of the Läther album which was planned for release in 1977 but not issued until 1996.



In early 1976, Zappa's relationship with manager and business partner Herb Cohen ended in litigation. Zappa and Cohen's company DiscReet Records was distributed by Warner Brothers. When Zappa asked for a re-assignment of his contract from DiscReet to Warner in order to advance the possibility of being able to do special projects without Cohen's involvement, Warners briefly agreed, which led to the 1976 release of Zoot Allures on Warner. At this point, Zappa was contractually bound to deliver four more albums to Warner and or DiscReet.

Early in 1977, Zappa delivered the master tapes for four albums to Warner Bros. There exact contents of these tapes remain unclear. Some sources claim that it was a quadruple-LP set, entitled Läther. Other sources insist that the albums were four individual titles. Zappa In New York (a two-LP set) was delivered complete with Zappa-approved artwork. This was followed by Studio Tan, Sleep Dirt, and Orchestral Favorites. For the latter 3 albums Zappa delivered tapes only. It is unlikely that a single 4LP set could have fulfilled the requirements of Zappa's Warner Bros. contract, which would have ordinarily called for 4 individual titles. In any case, Warner Bros. refused to release the albums. Perhaps believing that the material was not up to par, Warner refused to pay Zappa for his production costs upon delivery. This violated of the terms of Zappa's contract.

During 1977 Zappa created the Läther compilation by re-editing recordings from same batch of tapes that made up the individual album configuration. He then attempted to get a distribution deal with Mercury/Phonogram to release Läther on the new Zappa Records label. Warner Bros. to threatened legal action, preventing the release of the Läther album. Between 1978 and 1979 Warner finally decided to release the 3 remaining individual albums they still held, Studio Tan, Sleep Dirt, and Orchestra Favorites on the DiscReet label. As Zappa had delivered the tapes only, the three individual albums were released with no musical credits. (see [1]) Warner commissioned their own sleeve art by Gary Panter, which was not approved by Zappa.


The music was performed by the 37-piece Abnuceals Emuukha Electric Symphony Orchestra with Terry Bozzio on drums. The material included are primarily sourced from live performances recorded at Royce Hall on the UCLA campus in September, 1975; with additional studio overdubs to correct performance errors. This was the third album by Zappa to use an orchestra, with Lumpy Gravy and 200 Motels being the first and second. The album contains an instrumental version of the track "The Duke of Prunes" originally from the 1967 album Absolutely Free. Zappa plays an electric lead guitar solo with the orchestra on this track. "Strictly Genteel" was heard earlier as part of the 200 Motels film and soundtrack album. Bogus Pomp is also made up of themes that were used in 200 Motels.

Orchestral Favorites was reissued in a digitally remastered version on CD by Barking Pumpkin in 1991 (oddly; with the left and right channels reversed, due to an error in audio mastering); this edition was reissued again in 1995 by Ryko. Much of the material on the album was made available to the public again when Läther was finally officially released to the public in 1996 after Zappa's death.

Track listing

Side one

  1. "Strictly Genteel" – 7:04
  2. "Pedro's Dowry" – 7:41
  3. "Naval Aviation in Art?" – 1:22

Side two

  1. "Duke of Prunes" – 4:20
  2. "Bogus Pomp" – 13:27



Album - Billboard (North America)

Year Chart Position
1979 Pop Albums 168[2]


External links

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