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André Previn: Piano Concerto, Guitar Concerto / Previn


Release Date: 12/11/2008 
Label:  Decca   Catalog #: 425107   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  André Previn
Performer:  Vladimir AshkenazyEduardo FernandezMitch DaltonHerbie Flowers,   ... 
Conductor:  André Previn
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 0 Hours 58 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

I wrote elsewhere of the debut recording on CBS (nla) of Previn's Guitar Concerto by John Williams and was, I fear, less enthusiastic than EG (10/72). Previn's fame as a conductor was preceded by that as a jazz pianist (78s of his Trio are still on my shelves), more notable for his clean and spirited playing than for any stylistic originality. Jazz improvisers, whether musically educated (as Previn is) or not (as many have been), absorb music through the ears and their own playing may be changed, whether consciously or subconsciously, by what they hear—which is why the guitarist Wes Montgomery avoided listening to 'non-jazz' music. Conductors are continually exposed to a wide variety of musics and those who occasionally compose (as distinct Read more from composers who sometimes conduct) are particularly vulnerable to attacks of eclecticism. The sweeping strings and punctuating horn near the beginning of the Piano Concerto recall Rachmaninov, the first of the work's Russian echoes, whilst the intrusions of the electric guitar into the final movement of the Guitar Concerto, which EG found ''Ives-like'', are surely the offspring of Bartok's Concerto for Orchestra—''O Freunde, nicht diese Tone!'' indeed (can the descending 'tonic-dominant-tonic' figure that recurs in the preceding movement be pure coincidences.). Though what happens between the two, I leave the listener to play his/her own game of 'Spot the influence', but marks for detecting that of jazz and popular music are only modest.

The Piano Concerto has by far the greater substance, a virtuosic and finely orchestrated work (here brilliantly played by its dedicatee) which no less than the Guitar Concerto, changes its ideas and moods with the adeptness of a cross between a chameleon and a mongoose. The piano is Previn's own instrument, the guitar is not, but with the aid of a chart (and a little help from Williams) he writes gratefully for it—and with a good variety of textures. Fernandez comes so close to Williams, except in consistency of tone-production, that his recording suffices as a representation of a work that, whilst no masterpiece, is lightly 'entertaining', as its composer intended it to be. The recording is superbly clear, and in some respects better balanced than that of Williams.

-- John Duarte, Gramophone [4/1990]
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Works on This Recording

1.
Concerto for Piano by André Previn
Performer:  Vladimir Ashkenazy (Piano)
Conductor:  André Previn
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1984; USA 
2.
Concerto for Guitar by André Previn
Performer:  Eduardo Fernandez (Guitar), Mitch Dalton (Electric Guitar), Herbie Flowers (Bass Guitar),
Barry Morgan (Drums)
Conductor:  André Previn
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1971 

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