12 thoughts on “The Black Page – Vienna, 1984”

  1. So very impressive and precise. I’m sure there isn’t a single Zappa freak who hasn’t gotten the entire Black Page transcribed mentally in their heads from so many repeated hearings (particularly the ZINY versions). I wonder if these orchestras (chamber groups, etc) realize that each and every time they perform this piece, they are both consciously, and subconsciously, being measured by the very listener they are hoping to impress and entertain, the Zappa fan? In this case, they were spot on.

  2. All in all a pretty good performance regardless of the surprise arrangement change that is set up by some monotonous pose
    before the ring master rings the podium bell in carnival like fashion.
    I have to wonder some of the choices on this arrangement.
    Now if they could get all that percussion, xylophone
    and marimba why is their the lack of harp or bass presence
    with round and driving overtones.

  3. These guys (& gals if i’m not completely mistaken) nail the piece brilliantly. What i don’t like is that they segued the hard version and the easy teenage version, i always perceived these two as separate pieces. I guess that the noodling at around 8:30 and the BIG NOTE at the end are the arranger’s way to give his own personal touch to the piece. As if FZ’s work wasn’t challenging enough… Anyway, this is an excellent and (otherwise) exact performance of a signature FZ composition. Thanks!

  4. An imperfect, yet impressive arrangment of an incandescent Zappa composition.

  5. [quote comment=”5405″]An imperfect, yet impressive arrangment of an incandescent Zappa composition.[/quote]

    I think you have to say why it is “imperfect” otherwise its a meaningless comment.

    That was bloody terrific.. precise and nicely played for a recital type version. The “drum solo” stage of BP1 was really nice with all the unison playing. I also like the shortening mutation of the final 11tuplet riff at the end.. that was pretty cool.

  6. It was, overall, an imperfection, Chuck, because of several mistakes — both rhythmical and melodical — that transpired throughout the duration of this rearranged composition; surely your ears must have picked up on a few, your ears being privy to the same piece as myself?
    That’s not to say, however, that any of the blunders detracted too greatly from any delectation I derived from this rendition; indeed, I was down right mesmerized throughout most it, and especially enjoyed the “mutation,” as you call it, that the arranger thought to annex to the end.

  7. I think the reason people attempt the black page is to test their metal. I have a friend who has been playing drums for years and says that the black page is the hardest piece he’s ever had to learn. He said it was like learning to play again.

    I just wonder how Frank knew the Terry was playing it right the first time he heard it. Well actually he didn’t I read that Ed and Terry had worked out their own version of it and then when Ruth came back to do the December 1976 shows she played it the way it was written and forced them to learn it correctly too.

  8. That was bloody fantastic!!! Amazing playing!! Really flowed and kept it’s pace and I reckon Uncle Frankie would have raised an eyebrow if he’d seen this. Thanks for posting this great clip.

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