Orchestra 2001 in a rare outing of Zappa’s daunting “The Yellow Shark”

Posted on: April 25, 2018

The Yellow Shark, a collection of 17 orchestral works that Frank Zappa wrote and recorded shortly before his death in 1993, is driving Philly’s modern-classical ensemble Orchestra 2001 to the edge of what seems possible,” writes David Patrick Stearns in Thursday’s (4/19) Philadelphia Inquirer. “The flexible Orchestra 2001 collective of players will grow its ranks to an unusually large 35 and is having 15 rehearsals—about four times as much as usual—for two Philly performances. The first show … pairs selections from The Yellow Shark with works from some of Zappa’s classical-music idols, including Pierre Boulez and Edgar Varèse…. Then on April 28, The Yellow Shark (named after a surfboard) will be performed almost in its entirety at the Fillmore Philadelphia.… These long-unpublished Zappa scores, says Orchestra 2001 music director Jayce Ogren, have rhythms that are ‘not possible for human beings to play together consistently.’ … What stumps even the most savvy new-music conductors are the ‘tuplets’—time-stretching devices that, say, cram three notes into a space normally occupied by two. Ogren is puzzling over 23 notes mashed into 18 increments…. ‘One conductor said he needed a pocket calculator to figure it out,’ ” said Adam Lesnick, the orchestra’s executive director.

Posted April 25, 2018