Royal Albert Hall

February 10, 2012 by staff 

Royal Albert Hall, The Royal Albert Hall yesterday banned a concert which was to have been given last night by the underground pop group, Mothers of Invention, and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. The Hall’s letting manager, Miss Marian Herrod said it was obscene.

The concert, for which 5,000 tickets had been sold, was to have consisted of extracts from the musical score of a film, “200 Motels,” composed by Frank Zappa, leader of the Mothers of Invention. The film is an explicit assessment of pop stars’ life, including visions of sexual fantasies.

Two musicians walked out during rehearsals, John Wilbraham, one of the country’s leading trumpet players, said: ‘”The whole thing has revolted me… I don’t see how I can be playing a trumpet concerto one night and taking part in this sort of production the next.” The other musician, he said, was a practising Salvationist – “and it was all too much for him.”

Miss Herrod said she and the Albert Hall’s manager, Mr Frank Mundy, had seen the libretto several weeks ago. They objected to “the general trend” and asked for revisions. These had not been forthcoming.

She did not want to go into any details about words or details in the script, but added: “It’s not the sort of thing we want in the Albert Hall.” Mr Herb Cohen, manager of the Mothers of Invention, said the management would not even tell him to what it objected. “I offered orally, and in writing, to change or alter anything, but Mr Mundy said he objected to the intent, not the specific words.” One of the titles which Miss Herrod is said to have disliked is “What sort of a girl wears a brassiere to a pop concert.” Other song titles are more elaborately crude.

But a spokesman for the RPO denied that the musicians had been required to stand up and shout a four-letter word.” Some of the music is absolutely excellent and bears some similarity with Stravinsky’s ‘Rite of Spring.’ We did ask for some modifications and tailoring as we wouldn’t be associated with anything except of the highest class.”

The musical score has been performed in almost every country in Europe and has been heard in Liverpool and Manchester. Zubin Mehta has conducted with the Los Angeles Symphony Orchestra and it has been performed in 30 American cities, even in the Chicago Opera House, without complaint.

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