36 Years Ago

36 Years Ago, Vienna 1971—A Student Journal

Day 122: Frank Zappa rocks Vienna


Vienna 1971—A Student Journal
A year of music, study, travel, sightseeing & friends.

Day 122 — Frank Zappa rocks Vienna
02-December-1971 (Thur.)

First 2007 mini snowfall


Another first today. Today, in that same beautiful and large concert hall, the Konzerthaus, in which I saw my first Vienna concert of Mahler’s 8th, with the stage was filled by hundreds of singers, the Vienna Boys’ Choir, organist, soloist, and 100-piece orchestra, another concert took place. This time the stage was also filled completely. However, there were only a few players this time—Frank Zappa and The Mothers of Invention. They made about 5x the sound that the Mahler 8th produced. (What do you expect with a 16-gigantic-multi-speaker P.A.?) I basically enjoyed it a lot—I liked the mood and involvement. Some of their music was interesting. But after a while it was less interesting and the sound got to me. What was wild was that the whole placed was filled with hippies (real long hair). I think Vienna has more long-hairs than back home. It was funny, that in the beginning, it was so hard to get in, even with tickets, because there was a tremendous crowd and certain hippie elements were pushing to try and crash in—some made it. I like the way Frank Zappa conducts, it was really funny.

All in all, this whole scene seemed and felt pretty weird, occurring in the world-famous and plush Viennese Konzerthaus.

I got a reward today—300s for the money I found.


Opening picture is that of our first 2007 mini-snowfall. (Taken with iPhone)

I apologize for the lack of posting these last two weeks. I needed some time off and some time to try and get my computer and hard drives in order. I will make an effort to post on a daily basis from now on.

Frank Zappa Rocks Vienna. Here it is, I’m in the world-famous Vienna Konzerthaus listening to Frank Zappa and the Mother’s of Invention. It was interesting to see a rock concert in the same hall as symphonic concerts. [In 1971, I found that unusual, although today it is a little less so.] I enjoyed the music, perhaps not the extra-loud volume. Just seeing live music is exciting. Frank Zappa’s career spanned many musical genres. Not only did he play rock guitar in The Mothers of Invention, he was a songwriter, producer, and filmmaker. Later in life, he moved to “serious composing,” writing very difficult-to-play music in a contemporary and avant-garde musical style; first on his famous Synclavier, one of the very first high-end computer-based musical synthesizers, and then for performance ensembles and orchestras. Zappa was an outspoken critic of authority and of education, and a defender of free speech and thinking. A Wikipedia article has a good overview of his career.

Zappa speaks at Ohio State University. The world is small, in both time and place. Many years later, in the 1980s, Frank Zappa was invited to be the keynote speaker at the annual convention of the American Society of University Composers (ASUC) at Ohio State University. He was invited by my teacher and advisor, Dr. Thomas Wells, composer, pianist, director of the electronic music lab, and head of ASUC that year, I believe. At the time, I was a doctoral candidate* and teaching associate in music composition at Ohio State University in Columbus, under Dr. Wells. Zappa gave his keynote address to a room filled with university composers (remember his disdain of formal education and authority). I don’t remember the exact content but I remember it was very interesting. Frank Zappa was a highly intelligent man. As part of the conference, a few of Zappa’s works were performed by the Ohio State ensembles. I performed in one of them—from what I remember, it was extremely technically challenging; difficult to perform. The conference was exciting and Zappa was indeed, a serious composer.

[*Although I finished the majority of my coursework, I never completed the degree due to my leaving to go home to attend to my mother’s last stages of cancer. After that, it was difficult to return and complete the degree. Maybe, one day.]

300s Reward. Do you remember that day when I found 3,000s cash on the bus? Well, today, I receive a reward of 300 Austrian schillings. That means someone claimed the money. That was nice. I didn’t think much of it. Wait, this story is not over.

Beemer loves the snow
2007 First mini-snowfall. You know that I enjoy walking. You know that I enjoy the snow. Today, we had our first mini-showfall of about 3-4 inches. Beemer, our Golden Retriever, also loves the snow. Walking in it. Diving and digging into snowbanks. Making doggy snow angels. Left, is a picture of Beemer from a few years ago enjoying the snow. I'll place some more pics in the Photos section.


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