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Andre Previn Has Died


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In 1977, the four-time Academy Award-winning composer André Previn collaborated with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra for a television series titled "Previn and the Pittsburgh."  My favorite episode of the PBS program featured a performance from Jerry Goldsmith's score from "The Blue Max" (1966). 

The World War I drama starred George Peppard as the headstrong German flier Bruno Stachel, a man determined to become a decorated hero at all costs.

 

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André Previn, Musical Polymath, Has Died At Age 89

".........he was a composer of Oscar-winning film music, conductor, pianist and music director of major orchestras. His manager, Linda Petrikova, confirmed to NPR that he died at his home in Manhattan.

Previn wrote a tune in the 1950s. In the vernacular of the day, he called it "Like Young." His Hollywood friend, the great lyricist Ira Gershwin, was critical. "Don't you know it should be "As Young?" asked Gershwin. Previn loved that story — from his jazz side.

Tim Page, a Pulitzer Prize-winning former music critic and professor of journalism and music at the University of Southern California, says that jazz was just one side of the multitalented artist. "He really seriously distinguished himself in a lot of different fields. He was not one of these people who came in and shook up one field forever and ever," Page notes.......

Previn won four Oscars for his film work, including his adaptation of the score for the movie version of My Fair Lady. He also won 10 Grammy Awards for his film, jazz and classical recordings, as well as a lifetime achievement prize in 2009; he was also awarded a Kennedy Center Honor in 1998. This versatile, gifted musician was so multitalented. But Page argues that his best work was far removed from the concert stage. ...

https://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2019/02/28/517960940/andre-previn-musical-polymath-has-died-at-age-89?fbclid=IwAR1XZs9cw4KvE7DQVSgNA5nyvu2q6gDe8c8mjrcZlUh7DIAsgyZP2IumeFs

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Previn had many outstanding scores.  One of my personal favorites was the track to Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, starring Glen Ford, Paul Lukas, Charles Boyer, Lee J. Cobb, and Paul Henreid.  Previn's score elevated the film above what Leonard Maltin considered a mediocre plot.  The love theme is particularly moving.  

 

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I remember enjoying the Previn and the Pittsburgh series quite a lot. Among his many other talents, Previn was a first-rate conductor of symphonic music. His set of the complete Vaughan Williams symphonies is outstanding, and his Shostakovitch recordings are equally good.

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The station WQED in Pittsburgh that filmed this series apparently misplaced this video recording for many years.  It was considered incredibly rare and unobtainable among Gutierrez and Rachmaninoff fans, we contacted many different people throughout the years.  Then one day a direct copy of their master recording showed up in our mailbox.  Previn and Horacio Gutierrez playing Rachmaninoff's 3rd.  Still have it. 

Anyhow I see somebody else has been nice enough to upload an over the air recording to Youtube.


 

 

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When I was in college, I did summer school in France. But I had to make at least one trip to London to see Andre Previn in concert playing the piano in the Benjamin Britten Hall. It was ironic that Andre Previn and his family had escaped The Nazis and fled to Southern California, where they met up with a close relative, Charles Previn, who was a music man in the Hollywood movies. They were able to take nothing with them. So despite his background in classical music, Andre Previn started out at MGM in the music department to make a living.

The irony was seeing him finally in London as the conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra back with classical music or where he belongs and where he started.

And what was in between was he was the last great music Genius of the MGM musicals. He conducted Fred Astaire's last MGM musical Silk Stockings and the last great MGM Musical Gigi.

Unbelievably in the middle of all this, he  also became a recognized jazz artist with a trio and respectable Jazz recordings.

Next to Oscar Levant and of course George Gershwin, Andre Previn was the greatest 20th century performer of Gershwin concert music-- for which he recorded-- himself playing the piano and conducting the London Symphony Orchestra.

 It took the classical music world a long time to accept him because of his association with Hollywood. That's where the irony is because he started out as a classical musician and that's how he ended.

He was married 5 times. 3 of his wives were famous artists:

Dory Previn, whom he wrote The Valley of the Dolls with

Actress Mia Farrow

And one of the greatest violinist of our time Anne-Sophie Mutter.

Jackie Kennedy worked in publishing before she died. Although she never wrote a book, she did edit one book quite famously and that was the memoirs of Andre Previn. Naturally the only thing I remember about the book was a story that he told about Fred Astaire. Previn was working on one of Fred's movies, And decided that he wanted to learn some tap dancing. Fred tried to teach him a time step but he never could quite pick it up. In frustration Fred finally told him that he been in Vaudeville with a bear act. And that for fun he'd actually taught the bear how to do a Time step. But Andre Previn never did learn.

Different people knew him in different Ways and music genres. But I followed him all over the place and what always amazed me about Andre Previn was how comfortable and relaxed and knowledgeable he was in whatever music genre that he had selected at that moment in time.

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6 hours ago, Sepiatone said:

I'm more familiar with him as a conductor.  And once saw him do some thing on PBS with OSCAR PETERSON.

But surely a loss to classical music enthusiasts.

RIP Andre....

Sepiatone

Previn did many solid jazz albums.   One great one is with Joe Pass and Ray Brown,  two legends of jazz: After Hours.  Here they are doing Cotton Tail.  

 

    

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