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Pierre's Tuesday Blog

In Memoriam André Previn (1929-2019)

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This month’s Vinyl’s Revenge is our final tribute to notable musicians who have left us in 2019. After a pair of Austrian pianists, we offer today a tip of the hat to the German-born American “triple threat” pianist, composer and conductor André Previn.

According to his obituary in the Guardian on line:

The conductor, composer and pianist André Previn, who has died aged 89, was not only among the most charismatic performers of his day, but also enjoyed one of the greatest classical-music lives since Berlioz and Liszt – and one that did not grow less eventful with old age. His pedigree was unique: no other Oscar-winning conductor-composer from the Hollywood film studios became equally successful in the strictly classical world of the London Symphony Orchestra – which Previn headed from 1968 to 1979 – while also maintaining a side career as a jazz pianist.

The obituary continues:
His London Symphony recordings are often his best, and they are numerous, thanks to such a congenial relationship with EMI that he could phone the company to say that a certain concert was shaping up unusually well, and have a recording team on hand by the end of the week.

From my vinyl collection, I chose to share this 1977 Previn/LSO recording of the “complete” incidental music Mendelssohn wrote for Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, complete with his youthful overtire (op. 21) and seminal tracks including the brisk scherzo and the oft-heard Wedding March.

There are a pair of sung tracks – featuring female soloists and children’s choir. The text is sung here in English rather than in German, making this something of a unique recording.

Happy Listening!

Felix MENDELSSOHN (1809-1847)
"A Midsummer Night's Dream", Overture, Op. 21
Incidental Music To "A Midsummer Night's Dream", Op. 61

Soprano Vocals – Lilian Watson
Mezzo-soprano Vocals – Delia Wallis
Finchley Children's Music Group
Chorus Master – Colin Howard
London Symphony Orchestra
André Previn, conducting
Angel Records ‎– S-37268
Format: Vinyl, LP, Stereo, Quadraphonic
Released: 1977

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