London Symphony Orchestra is an album series by Frank Zappa, released in two parts as London Symphony Orchestra, Vol. I in 1983 and London Symphony Orchestra, Vol. II, in 1987. They were recorded at the same sessions, in January 1983. The two albums were later combined, and re-released on a Rykodisc CD as London Symphony Orchestra Vol. I & II (1995).
Volume I features the London Symphony Orchestra performing four instrumental compositions — "Sad Jane", "Pedro's Dowry", "Envelopes", and "Mo 'n Herb's Vacation" — from sessions recorded in January 1983. The album was Zappa's fourth to employ an orchestra, following Lumpy Gravy (1967), 200 Motels (1971) and Orchestral Favorites (1979).
The album was recorded using a digital24-track recorder. It was one of the earliest digital multitrack recordings of an orchestra. By recording the orchestra with many microphones very close to the instruments the album sounds more detailed than possible with previous stereo recording techniques. Extensive use of editing was employed to fix musical mistakes.
The original vinyl LP recordings were tweaked in the studio to hide out-of-tune and wrong notes as well as to add in a sheen of reverb to further obscure parts. These audio "enhancements" were removed when the recordings were remixed for the compact disc re-issue in 1995. This version of the album was combined with London Symphony Orchestra, Vol. II (1987), and re-released on a Rykodisc CD as London Symphony Orchestra Vol. I & II.
All tracks written, composed and arranged by Frank Zappa.