Label: Frank Zappa Catalog
Zappa may have begun his career name-checking composer Edgard Varese in the liner notes to a Mothers album, but he ended it by actually making an album of contemporary classical music worthy of that inspiration. The virtuosos of Germany's Ensemble Modern approached Zappa just before his untimely death; the ensuing series of live concerts in Europe resulted in his best classical album. There are arrangements of familiar tunes like "Uncle Meat," but even choicer are fresh pieces like "Outrage at Valdez" and "Be-Bop Tango," which perfect Zappa's catchy-but-aggressive classical style. Essential.