Zappa’s Stravinsky Borrowings (part 2)

As promised in my last post, here are several tables that account for most (if not all) of Zappa’s borrowings from Stravinsky. I’ve tried to provide as much information about each instance as possible and have listed the track title, the album title, the recording date and location, the title of the borrowed composition, the borrowing strategy employed, and details regarding timing and nature of the borrowing.

(You can sort the tables by clicking on the header cells, though in some cases, that won’t accomplish anything productive!)

Table 1: Instances of Stravinsky borrowings in Zappa’s official releases

Track title:Album and recording type/date:Borrowing source and type:Notes and timings:
“Amnesia Vivace”Absolutely Free (1967)

Studio recording: November 16, 1966 @ Sunset-Highland Studios of TTG
Rite of Spring; Firebird

patchwork/ paraphrase/ riffing/ quodlibet
Several melodic fragments from The Rite of Spring and The Firebird appear in close succession towards the beginning of the track. The melody first heard in the trumpets at rehearsal 132 in The Rite of Spring (“Ritual Action of the Ancestors”) is played on an organ, soon doubled by voice (0:00-0:07). Then, the opening bassoon melody from The Rite of Spring is played by a clarinet accompanied, with variation, by voice (0:16-0:21); A paraphrasing of the “Lullaby” from Firebird soon follows (0:22-1:00) played by a clarinet on top of which a paraphrasing of “Duke of Earl” is sung/spoken.
“Soft-Sell Conclusion”Absolutely Free (1967)

Studio recording: November 16, 1966 @ Sunset-Highland Studios of TTG
L’Histoire du Soldat

arrangement
An up-tempo arrangement of the beginning of the “Royal March” from L’Histoire du Soldat is performed by on organ with guitar and drum accompaniment (1:25-1:32).
“Status Back Baby”Absolutely Free (1967)

Studio recording: November 15, 1966 @ Sunset-Highland Studios of TTG
Petrushka

riffing/ arrangement/ programmatic quotation/ setting
Several melodic fragments from the first tableau of Petrushka are paraphrased during the bridge (1:29-2:07). (See discussion above for more detail.)
“Fountain of Love”Cruising with Ruben & The Jets (1968)

Studio recording: early 1968 @ Apostolic Studios, New York, NY
Rite of Spring

setting/ quodlibet
At the end of this track, in a fade-out vamp, the opening bassoon melody from The Rite of Spring is set in a doo-wop context against a simultaneous borrowing from The Moonglows’ “Sincerely” (2:30-2:51). (See discussion above for more detail.)
“Trouble Every Day”Beat the Boots II, Vol. 3: Electric Aunt Jemima (1992)

Live recording: May 3, 1968 @ The Dog, Denver, CO
Rite of Spring

spontaneous quotation/ riffing/ setting
A recognizable variation of the opening gesture of The Rite of Spring is played by the clarinet (1:42-1:45).
“Status Back Baby”Beat the Boots I, Vol. 2: The Ark (1991)

Live recording: July 8, 1969 @ The Ark, Boston, MA
Petrushka

riffing/ arrangement/ programmatic quotation/ setting
(1:11-1:51) (See above.)
“Music for Electric Violin and Low-Budget Orchestra”King Kong: Jean-Luc Ponty Plays the Music of Frank Zappa (1970)

Studio recording: October 6-7, 1969 @ Whitney Studios, Glendale, CA
L’Histoire du Soldat

stylistic allusion
The opening bassoon ostinato may be derived from a bass ostinato in L’Histoire du Soldat (0:00-0:45).[1]
“Mother People”Beat the Boots II, Vol. 4: At The Circus (1992)

Live recording: June 18, 1970 @ Uddel, Netherlands
Agon

paraphrase/ arrangement
The opening four measures of Agon, arranged for organ, drums, and guitar, are used to conclude the song (2:21-2:39).
“Status Back Baby”Playground Psychotics (1992)

Live recording: June 5/6, 1971 @ Fillmore East, New York, NY
Petrushka; Agon

riffing/ arrangement/ programmatic quotation/ setting/ medley/ paraphrase
In addition to the usual Petrushka fragments, the 1971 concert arrangement of “Status Back Baby” included a brief paraphrasing of the opening gesture of Agon, as heard here (1:20-2:01). (See above.)
“Magdalena”Just Another Band from L.A. (1972)

Live recording: August 7, 1971 @ Pauley Pavilion, UCLA, Los Angeles, CA
Violin Concerto in D

extended paraphrase
The primary vocal melody of “Magdalena,” heard repeatedly throughout the song, is based on the opening thematic material from the Capriccio of the Violin Concerto in D.
“Rollo”QuAUDIO-PHILIAc (2004)

Live recording: September 18, 1975 @ Royce Hall, UCLA, Los Angeles, CA
Rite of Spring

spontaneous quotation/ setting
A saxophone solo begins with a paraphrase of the opening bassoon gesture from The Rite of Spring (3:43-3:46).
“Drowning Witch”Ship Arriving Too Late To Save A Drowning Witch (1982)

Live recording: November 27, 1981 @ Uptown Theatre, Chicago, IL
Rite of Spring

paraphrase/ programmatic quotation
An arrangement of the syncopated opening of “The Augurs of Spring” from The Rite of Spring is heard as an accompaniment for the line, “Maybe a submarine could save her and bring her home to the Navy for some kind of ritual sacrifice” (1:43-1:57).
“In-A-Gadda-Stravinsky”Guitar (1988)

Live recording: November 25, 1984 @ Civic Center, Atlanta, GA
Rite of Spring

spontaneous quotation/ setting/ quodlibet
In a seemingly extemporized section from the song “Let’s Move to Cleveland” (here, excerpted and renamed “In-A-Gadda-Stravinsky”), the opening gesture from The Rite of Spring is played by guitar while the bass plays a recognizable riff from Iron Butterfly’s “In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida” (0:20-0:33).
“Drowning Witch”You Can’t Do That On Stage Anymore, Vol. 3 (1989)

Live recording: segment with borrowing from December 17, 1984 @ Paramount Theatre, Seattle, Washington; other material from July 3, 1982 @ Stadio Communale, Bolzano, Italy / December 1, 1984 @ Center Arena, St. Petersburg, FL / November 23, 1984 @ Bismarck Theater, Chicago, IL
Rite of Spring

paraphrase/ programmatic quotation
As above, though here the line mentioning “ritual sacrifice” is no longer present (2:04-2:14). That this borrowing remains an instance of programmatic quotation is entirely dependent on the earlier version where the textual reference to Stravinsky remains intact.

Table 2: Textual references and other allusions to the music of Stravinsky

Track title:Album and recording type/date:Borrowing type and source:Notes:
“Invocation and Ritual Dance of the Young Pumpkin”
Absolutely Free (1967)

Studio recording: November 16, 1966 @ Sunset-Highland Studios (TTG)
Rite of Spring modelingThe words “ritual,” “dance,” and “young” allude to various scenes from The Rite of Spring (“Ritual of Abduction,” “Dances of the Young Girls,” etc.).
“Igor’s Boogie, Phase One,” and “Igor’s Boogie, Phase Two”Burnt Weeny Sandwich (1970)

Studio recording: c. 1967-1969
L’Histoire du Soldat stylistic allusionThe title is an obvious tongue-in-cheek allusion to Stravinsky. Much of the texture seems derived from L’Histoire du Soldat as well.
“Titties & Beer”Zappa in New York (1978)

Live recording: December 26-29, 1976
@ The Palladium, New York, NY

Overdubs:
March, 1977
@ The Record Plant, Los Angeles, CA
L’Histoire du Soldat modelingZappa’s text is loosely—but undeniably—based on the plot of L’Histoire du Soldat.

Table 3: Other arrangements of Stravinsky’s music by Zappa

Piece:Notes:
AgonPerformed during the May 1970 and June-December 1970 tours.
“Royal March” from L’Histoire du SoldatPerformed as part of a medley during Zappa’s final tour in 1988. The “Royal March” was sandwiched between Zappa’s own “Packard Goose” and an arrangement of Bartok’s third piano concerto. A performance—likely from February 25 at the Syria Mosque in Pittsburgh, PA —can be heard on the album Make a Jazz Noise Here (1991). Though not performing his own arrangements, it is certainly worth noting that on September 6, 1972, Zappa participated as the narrator in a performance of L’Histoire du Soldat by the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra under Lukas Foss at the Hollywood Bowl. The concert was Zappa’s first public appearance after a lengthy hiatus following an attack by an unruly English fan on December 10, 1971. On September 6, 1972, Zappa participated as the narrator in a performance of L’Histoire du Soldat by the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra under Lukas Foss at the Hollywood Bowl.
PetrushkaPerformed as part of a medley in several shows in 1967 and 1968. The medley begins with Zappa’s “You Didn’t Try To Call Me,” followed by an arrangement of the “Russian Dance” from Petrushka, “The Bristol Stomp” (The Dovells), and “Baby Love” (The Supremes), concluding with Zappa’s “Big Leg Emma.” One example of the medley—performed on September 30, 1967 at the Konserthuset in Stockholm, Sweden—can be found on the sixth disc of Beat the Boots I: ’Tis the Season to be Jelly (1991).

Table 3: Textual references and other allusions to the music of Stravinsky

152 Responses to “Zappa’s Stravinsky Borrowings (part 2)”

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