What do you think about André Previn?

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Sylph

What do you think about André Previn?

Post by Sylph » Tue Jan 13, 2009 1:24 pm

There are several of his recordings I like, for example Strauss's Eine Alpensinfonie, Prokofiev's Romeo & Juliet (complete ballet), symphonies 5 & 7, Shostakovich's Fourth, Brahms's Requiem, Vaughn Williams's A London Symphony...

Yet at times I don't know what to think of him... :?

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Re: What do you think about André Previn?

Post by stenka razin » Tue Jan 13, 2009 1:57 pm

From his first classical recording of Copland's lovely 'Red Pony' Suite with the St. Louis Symphony, in the 1960's, I have been following this great multi talented composer-conductor's illustrious career. Previn's early Vaughan Williams Symphony cycle and his Walton Symphony No. 1 with the London Symphony made us all take note of his genius early on. Since then he has recorded many wonderful CDs with orchestras all over the world. All in all, Previn is one of our greatest conductors. :D :D :D :D
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Re: What do you think about André Previn?

Post by Chalkperson » Tue Jan 13, 2009 2:07 pm

Many of his discs on EMI are superb...

Holst - The Planets
Britten Sinfonia - Holst The Fool
Debussy - Images - La Mer
Messiaen - Turangalîla-Symphonie
Prokofiev - The Ballets
Tchaikovsky - The Ballets
Gershwin - Rhapsody in Blue - Piano Concerto
Korngold - Goldmark - Violin Concertos
Mendelssohn - Midsummer's Night Dream
Shostakovich - 4th Symphony
Walton - Violin Concerto - Symphonies
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Re: What do you think about André Previn?

Post by pizza » Tue Jan 13, 2009 2:32 pm

I'll highly recommend his Rach 2nd Symphony on Telarc and Shostakovich 8th Symphony on DG. There's no doubt that he's a great, all-round musician.

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Re: What do you think about André Previn?

Post by Ken » Tue Jan 13, 2009 2:41 pm

I've most of the Walton CDs that Previn has released, and find him to be the most convincing interpreter of that composer's music. His recordings of the two Symphonies, as well as the Violin and Viola Concertos with Nigel Kennedy are amongst my favourite discs. Previn maintained a close relationship with Walton beginning in the 1960s, so he might today have the closest personal connection with the composer's music.
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Re: What do you think about André Previn?

Post by Seán » Tue Jan 13, 2009 2:52 pm

I only have Previn conducting the LSO in Prokofiev, nothing else yet. I love all but the Five Prokofiev Piano Concertos with Ashkenazy.
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Re: What do you think about André Previn?

Post by absinthe » Tue Jan 13, 2009 2:55 pm

Nothing but good to say. I still think his EMI Planets and RCA Walton 1st have yet to be bettered - recorded performances of which I'll never tire. And I still treasure his renderings of the RVW symphonies that I can cope with, notably the 5th through to the 8th.

But his efforts as a pianist and arranger shouldn't be forgotten. I spent long hours transcribing his arrangements backing Julie London and others. I have a few of his piano arrangements - not always easy to play but a good place to start!

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Re: What do you think about André Previn?

Post by Lance » Tue Jan 13, 2009 2:59 pm

I certainly recognize André Previn's musical genius. It's in his genes, coming from a family of musicians. A fine pianist, varied repertoire in jazz and classical music, a conductor and composer. Previn seems to be able to do anything in music, and do it well. Did Previn deserve to be in Philips' "Great Pianists of the 20th Century" series? He would not have been one of my choices for this series. I have many of his recordings but don't turn to them too often for orchestral repertoire (though I concur about his Rachmaninoff 2nd Symphony w/LSO), but when I do, it's usually as a collaborative conductor with artists such as Ashkenazy, de Larrocha, Lupu, J-P Collard, Perlman, Ax, etc. One of my all-time favourite recordings of Previn is the Vaughan Williams Tuba Concerto with tubist Fletcher [RCA]. Previn has also made some fine piano concerto- and chamber music recordings. He's done a lot for music all over the world and in many genres. I've seen him live with the Boston Symphony, but, sorry to say, it was not very impressionable.
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Re: What do you think about André Previn?

Post by Donaldopato » Tue Jan 13, 2009 3:05 pm

His Vaughn Williams cycle introduced me to the glories of RVW's symphonies. His Shostakovich 8th on EMI and his later DG are both superb (I prefer the EMI). The Turangalila is a powerful performance, one of the earliest I heard of this fascinating work. He is generally quite good in English music.

One of the greats, in my opinion.
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Sylph

Re: What do you think about André Previn?

Post by Sylph » Tue Jan 13, 2009 3:07 pm

absinthe wrote:I spent long hours transcribing his arrangements backing Julie London and others.
Those are available? :shock:

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Re: What do you think about André Previn?

Post by Heck148 » Tue Jan 13, 2009 4:36 pm

Sylph wrote:There are several of his recordings I like, for example Strauss's Eine Alpensinfonie, Prokofiev's Romeo & Juliet (complete ballet), symphonies 5 & 7, Shostakovich's Fourth, Brahms's Requiem, Vaughn Williams's A London Symphony...


You've mentioned some good ones there - the Prok R& J and the CSO Shost #4. His VWms symphony cycle is quite good also.
my faocvrite Previn recording is his classic Walton Symphony #1, with the LSO from the late 60s. great recording. [not to be confused with his later one on Telarc with RoyPO]

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Re: What do you think about André Previn?

Post by Steinway » Tue Jan 13, 2009 5:33 pm

Previn is a musical giant. A first rate conductor, a fine arranger, a excellent classical pianist and one of the swingingest, creative jazz pianists ever. His My Fair Lady CD is one of the great jazz recordings ever.

He will be in the music Hall of Fame, and deservedly so.

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Re: What do you think about André Previn?

Post by Wallingford » Tue Jan 13, 2009 5:52 pm

Listened to his Sibelius Second (w/Pittsburgh) the other night.

Didn't raise my opinion of him from what it was before; in fact, much the opposite direction.

He should just stick with movie scores & jazz piano.
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Re: What do you think about André Previn?

Post by Ralph » Tue Jan 13, 2009 9:20 pm

I've always been a bit lukewarm to his conducting and I've seen him on the podium many times. I think his England sojourn reflect his best work, both in concert and in the studio.

I do like his jazz CDs.
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Re: What do you think about André Previn?

Post by jbuck919 » Tue Jan 13, 2009 10:38 pm

I imagine he makes a good father-in-law by adoption for Woody Allen.

Seriously, my father, who owned enough LPs to fill an entire breadbox, happened to have a Previn jazz album. This was my first exposure to the concept of crossover and frankly, it didn't make much sense to me. (Oddly another one was Peter Nero, who "abandoned" classical for jazz piano.) But you can't argue with success on the basis that it is confusing.

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Re: What do you think about André Previn?

Post by Chalkperson » Tue Jan 13, 2009 11:23 pm

jbuck919 wrote:I imagine he makes a good father-in-law by adoption for Woody Allen.

Seriously, my father, who owned enough LPs to fill an entire breadbox, happened to have a Previn jazz album. This was my first exposure to the concept of crossover and frankly, it didn't make much sense to me. (Oddly another one was Peter Nero, who "abandoned" classical for jazz piano.) But you can't argue with success on the basis that it is confusing.
His early Jazz albums are very, very good...
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Re: What do you think about André Previn?

Post by GK » Tue Jan 13, 2009 11:44 pm

Also recommended is his recording of Gershwin's piano concerto with Kostelanetz

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Re: What do you think about André Previn?

Post by val » Wed Jan 14, 2009 5:28 am

In general, I like Andre Previn.

His interpretation of Ravel's "L'Enfant et les Sortiléges", recorded in 1999 with Pamela Helen Stephen, coupled with one of the best versions of Ma Mère L'Oye, is perhaps the one that touched me the most.

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Re: What do you think about André Previn?

Post by John F » Wed Jan 14, 2009 5:53 am

Previn's 11 years with the London Symphony were when he made most of the recordings people like, and I like quite a few of them too. Good years for him and the orchestra. Since then, it seems to me that his appearances in New York, mainly as guest conductor with the Philharmonic, have been rather dull, he hasn't been making recordings and appears to be concentrating on composing.

Have to say that such of his recent music that I've heard, notably the opera "A Streetcar Named Desire," has been rather unexciting too. Very well made, grateful to the performers, and I don't remember a note.

Also off the podium, during the LSO years, was his memorable appearance as "André Preview" in a brilliant comedy sketch on the Morecambe & Wise TV show, and fortunately it's on Youtube. A measure of what a celebrity he was in England, and not just as a conductor:

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Re: What do you think about André Previn?

Post by Sator » Wed Jan 14, 2009 7:51 am

My favourite Previn recording is that of Stravinsky's Agon. Yet, I fell asleep once at a live concert with him conducting the LSO in the Brahms 4th at the Gasteig.

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Re: What do you think about André Previn?

Post by Heck148 » Wed Jan 14, 2009 8:37 am

John F wrote: Also off the podium, during the LSO years, was his memorable appearance as "André Preview" in a brilliant comedy sketch on the Morecambe & Wise TV show,
Didn't he also write, or co-write, the book "Orchestra" - a whole series of interviews with professional orchestra musicians??
very easily readable and enjoyable - with many funny anecdotes, and stories from inside...

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Re: What do you think about André Previn?

Post by dirkronk » Wed Jan 14, 2009 9:06 am

Like stenka razin, I happen to love his Copland Red Pony recording. And like Chalkie, I also love some of those early jazz albums of his. But for the most part, I can take him or leave him. I'm not terribly enamored of his classical piano work, and I find his conducting a mixed bag: mostly good to very good, actually, and nothing outright bad, but only a few items really stand out for me. His Rachmaninoff symphonies, some of his VW, his Prokofiev R&J (although I still prefer the Maazel). Here's one I DO like a lot, and which I seldom see anyone else mention: Previn's recording on EMI of the Mahler 4th symphony--with the Pittsburgh SO and the EMI engineers doing a superb job, and with Elly Ameling sounding oh so sweet in the soprano's part. Over the years, it has managed to maintain a place on my overcrowded LP shelves with my other faves Szell and Reiner--surely good company!

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Re: What do you think about André Previn?

Post by moldyoldie » Wed Jan 14, 2009 9:39 am

Has anyone here heard Previn's Nielsen Symphony No. 1? It seems to be highly thought of in critical circles; I was wondering if it was worth the effort to procure.

The aforementioned Shostakovich Symphony No. 8 on EMI from the '70s introduced me to this great work. The super bargain re-release in EMI's Encore series loses absolutely nothing in persuasiveness and impact. His remake on DG is beautifully recorded, but noticeably softened, rounded, and subdued -- still worth hearing.

I'm also quite partial to Previn's way with the Vaughan Williams symphonies on RCA, as well as his R. Strauss: Also Sprach Zarathustra with the Vienna Philharmonic on Telarc.

FWIW, his recording of the complete Nutcracker ballet with the Royal Philharmonic on EMI is my only recording of it. Despite the occasional use of some garish sound effects, I've never felt compelled to purchase another.
Last edited by moldyoldie on Wed Jan 14, 2009 3:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: What do you think about André Previn?

Post by Auntie Lynn » Wed Jan 14, 2009 9:49 am

I have always loved this guy (yes, I have his R&J too). We almost hired him here; he was up against Tennstedt, Ashkenazy and Herb Blomsdedt. Guess who they took...I think it was a matter of $$ - guess it always is...

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Re: What do you think about André Previn?

Post by moldyoldie » Wed Jan 14, 2009 10:17 am

:lol: I just watched the YouTube clip above! Thanks, John, I needed that this morning. :D
Auntie Lynn wrote:I have always loved this guy (yes, I have his R&J too). We almost hired him here; he was up against Tennstedt, Ashkenazy and Herb Blomsdedt. Guess who they took...I think it was a matter of $$ - guess it always is...
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Re: What do you think about André Previn?

Post by maestrob » Wed Jan 14, 2009 11:23 am

Previn produced lots of great recordings, especially of English music when he was in London, but his later Walton I for Telarc is weak (lack of rehearsal?), and in live performances in NY I found him weak during the late 80's early 90's. Love his Alpine Symphony recorded in Vienna, but not his Rachmaninov II.

His problem, when I saw him, was that he conducted from the wrist by swinging the baton back and forth, instead of using his whole arm and swinging from the shoulder. I've never heard that he had any physical problems, but, this "technique" makes it difficult to control an orchestra, and the ensuing train-wreck left me deeply dissatisfied.

OTOH, that was just two concerts, and he's left us with some truly great recordings, all named above in other posts.

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Re: What do you think about André Previn?

Post by SONNET CLV » Wed Jan 14, 2009 12:25 pm

Count me a fan. The Walton First is one of the great ones. I also enjoy Previn's jazz piano albums every once in a while. Previn is a fabulous musician. And his own Violin Concerto proves interesting. As does the opera based on Tennessee Williams's play Streetcar Named Desire. That opera, which begins with (what to my ears sounds like) chords from Porgy and Bess, may well become "the great American opera". It's that good. (And the book it's based on aint no slouch, either.)

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Re: What do you think about André Previn?

Post by Chalkperson » Wed Jan 14, 2009 1:23 pm

Sator wrote:My favourite Previn recording is that of Stravinsky's Agon. Yet, I fell asleep once at a live concert with him conducting the LSO in the Brahms 4th at the Gasteig.
I fell asleep watching Robert Plant play Trampled Underfoot at Madison Square Garden once, and I was in Led Wallet's complimentary seats as well... :lol: :lol: :lol:
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Re: What do you think about André Previn?

Post by Holden Fourth » Thu Jan 15, 2009 2:58 am

His (EMI) Carmina Burana is surely in the top three recordings of this work.

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Re: What do you think about André Previn?

Post by Lance » Thu Jan 15, 2009 11:44 am

I have not seen this clip before. It's a WINNER! Thank you for sharing it, John Francis!
John F wrote:Previn's 11 years with the London Symphony were when he made most of the recordings people like, and I like quite a few of them too. Good years for him and the orchestra. Since then, it seems to me that his appearances in New York, mainly as guest conductor with the Philharmonic, have been rather dull, he hasn't been making recordings and appears to be concentrating on composing.

Have to say that such of his recent music that I've heard, notably the opera "A Streetcar Named Desire," has been rather unexciting too. Very well made, grateful to the performers, and I don't remember a note.

Also off the podium, during the LSO years, was his memorable appearance as "André Preview" in a brilliant comedy sketch on the Morecambe & Wise TV show, and fortunately it's on Youtube. A measure of what a celebrity he was in England, and not just as a conductor:

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Re: What do you think about André Previn?

Post by Istvan » Sat Jan 17, 2009 7:36 am

Correct me if I'm wrong on these two points but firstly one doesn't seem to hear much of Previn these days - certainly not nearly as much as one would expect from a "grand old man of music". Secondly, he would seem to have been a bit of a maverick, and a maverick who reached his prime when still young, during his time with the LSO, and then declined. He has given us very few symphony cycles and scarcely any opera, an area in which one would have expected him to excell.
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Re: What do you think about André Previn?

Post by John F » Sat Jan 17, 2009 4:57 pm

Previn was music director of the Oslo Philharmonic, 2002-6. He's also been a very busy composer since the mid-'90s. Not bad for a guy who'll be 80 in three months.
John Francis

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