Where the f*** does this guy get off??
david heimark | los angeles | 08/17/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"briefly, i have real questions, at a cursory glance, as to what the h*** kireviewer, whatever his name is, speaks of when he's alluding to this being released in '74??!!?? his mere mention of this being released in 1974 discredits anything he has to say. recorded in '75, released in '79, this fellow is believing it was released in '76??? huh?? a top 500 reviewer??? sure he's not a programmer for clearview or mtv?
i was at this show. it was another great evening of zappa music. not to mention showcasing bozzio and an impromptu "louie, louie" featuring beefheart.
this release was part of a THREE lp release, Lather, and yes indeed, WB locked up and f***ed up almost all aspects of fz's music at this juncture in his development.
it's a great representation of where mr. zappa was in september of 1975. tween bands, a small electric symphony orchestra and a really nice evening of music better than, oh, almost anything else that was being spewed forth in the "rock" segment of musical society, circa 1975.
if you're this far into it, drop the bucks, add this to your collection and let it serve as another marker on the long highway zappa traveled in pursuit of the big note."
For Zappa completists only (which isn't a bad thing)...
Grigory's Girl | NYC | 08/18/2007
(3 out of 5 stars)
"This is a decent album, but it's not among my Zappa favorites (no pun intended). All 5 songs/pieces here are on other albums, and those versions are better than they are here. As you Zappa afficiandos know, this was originally part of the 4 LP Lather album, so it wasn't meant to be Frank's first "official" orchestral album. Having said that, Strictly Genteel is better on the 200 Motels soundtrack (but the version here is better than the out of tune mishmash on the London Symphony Orchestra album), Naval Aviation in Art? is better on The Perfect Stranger album, I like the longer versions of Bogus Pomp and Pedro's Dowry on the LSO album, and Duke of Prunes sounds better in its rock version on Absolutely Free. It's an interesting album, well arranged and played, but there are much better renditions of these songs. I am a bit of a Zappa completist, so I do have this, but I don't play it very often."
FZ Journal Entry #2
Jeff Hodges | Denton, TX United States | 06/08/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Since the Moody Blues' Days of Future Passed, rock groups have been trying to fuse the orchestral soundscape with the rock idiom with varying degrees of success. Most of these projects have a pastiche approach, in that the two styles rarely intermingle directly. Instead, the orchestra fills in the blanks between rock statements. Orchestral Favorites differs from other cross-genre recordings in that it clearly and successfully shows the common ground between Frank's rock and orchestral sensibilities.
Too orchestral to be rock, and too rock to be orchestral, the five instrumental tracks on Orchestral Favorites contain some of Franks most compelling and memorable melodies. In particular, Strictly Genteel could almost be the School Song of some imaginary arts magnet school. The Duke of Prunes is also a favorite, featuring fantastic use of orchestral impact behind a blistering guitar solo that really shows Frank's mastery of electric guitar feedback. However, prepare yourself for the denser compositions Pedro's Dowry and Naval Aviation in Art?, which show his Stravinskyesque use of layers. The final track Bogus Pomp straddles the line between these extremes with an electrifying opening melody that pops up periodically during layered sections.
The Lowdown: Probably not a recording for the beginning Frank fan, it most certainly is one for the intermediate. It's a great look at the places where Frank's styles overlapped. It can be a little dense sometimes, but overall its quite memorable."