ANDRÉ PREVIN at 90: A Complete Catalogue of Works

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Biography An Appreciation Previn in Conversation The Composer’s Selections The Operas, Renée Fleming Works for Orchestra Works for Soloist & Orchestra Large Ensemble, Band & Brass Ensemble Chamber Works Vocal Works


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© Harald Hoffmann / DG

Like few before him, André Previn is the consummate musician. A celebrated conductor, pianist and chamber musician, his skills as a composer match these talents without question. To date he has produced a small, but powerful catalogue of works across all genres. From his ever-popular opera A Streetcar Named Desire to his self-reflective Violin Concerto “Anne-Sophie”, his music is immediate and packed with endearing melodies. Ahead of April 6, 2019, we have gathered together tributes from those who worked most closely with him, a recent interview with the composer, archive photos and coupled it with a complete list of his works to date. We hope that it inspires you to discover, or re-discover, Previn’s wonderful music and we invite you to join us in marking the occasion in 2019.


© Harald Hoffmann / DG

iv © Harald Hoffmann / DG


PREVIN AT 90 | Biography




omposer, conductor, and pianist André Previn left his native Germany in 1938 to live in Paris and subsequently to settle in Los Angeles in 1940. His early career orchestrating film scores at MGM led quickly to conducting engagements of symphonic repertoire and on to an international career as Music Director of orchestras in London, Los Angeles, Oslo and Pittsburgh. In the 1980s, he concentrated increasingly on composition for the concert hall and opera. His own richly lyrical style underscores his love of the late Romantic and early twentieth-century masterpieces of which his interpretations as conductor are internationally renowned.

Previn’s first opera, A Streetcar Named Desire, which he set to a libretto based on Tennessee Williams’ play, had its premiere at the San Francisco Opera in 1998 with Renée Fleming in the role of Blanche DuBois. It continues to enjoy numerous performances worldwide. Previn’s 1998 recording of the work with the San Francisco Opera Orchestra won the Grand Prix du Disque. Houston Grand Opera premiered Previn’s second opera, Brief Encounter, in May 2009.


PREVIN AT 90 | Biography

Every Good Boy Deserves Favour, written for the London Symphony Orchestra in collaboration with playwright Tom Stoppard, remains popular everywhere. Music for Boston was premiered in 2012 at Tanglewood, and was commissioned to honour the festival’s 75th anniversary. Other highlights from his recent orchestral works include a Double Concerto for Violin and Violoncello written for Jaime Laredo and Sharon Robinson, premiered by the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra in 2014, and performed since by orchestras across North America and Europe. Previn continues to expand his orchestral lyricism with Can Spring Be Far Behind? which premiered at Eastern Music Festival in July of 2016. His highly anticipated Concerto for Orchestra will be premiered during the 2020/21 season in celebration of the Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra’s centenary. Following the creation of several violin concertos and sonatas, Previn’s long-standing collaboration with violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter continued with his Nonet for Two String Quartets and Contrabass, which premiered in 2015 as part of the Edinburgh International Festival. Previn has also written for Vladamir Ashkenazy, Yo-Yo Ma, Renée Fleming, Janet Baker, Sylvia McNair, Lynn Harrell and Barbara Bonney. He has received numerous awards and honors for his outstanding musical accomplishments, including both the Austrian and German Cross of Merit, and the Glenn Gould Prize. He is the recipient of Lifetime Achievement Awards from the Kennedy Center, the London Symphony Orchestra, Gramophone and Classic FM. In 2010 he received a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award from The Recording Academy. His recordings have received several Grammy awards, including for his own Sonata for Violin, “Vineyard” performed by Gil Shaham, and Violin Concerto “Anne-Sophie” featuring Anne-Sophie Mutter with the Boston Symphony Orchestra. In 1999, he was honoured as Musical America’s ‘Musician of the Year’, and was appointed KBE, an honourary knighthood, by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II in 1996.


PREVIN AT 90 | An Appreciation


When you presented Tango Song and Dance to me on stage of the Avery Fisher Hall in the late 90s, performing it prima vista, I could not have imagined that this would be the first of many dedicated works with which you would grace me over the next, nearly 20 years. Late in 2001, we performed this gloriously lyrical and rhythmically hair-raising work in Lucerne. Our recording session of it in the early morning hours in Munich, while the city was fast asleep, remains as one of the most special moments in my life. Soon after, you dedicated your first Violin Concerto “Anne-Sophie” to me, in which my favourite children’s song ‘Wenn ich ein Vöglein wär’ (If I were a bird) appears as the theme of the third movement. Equally personal for you, this tune recalls a very intense memory of your early years in Berlin, before Above: ‘Very dear André, warning - this is fan mail!’, Anne-Sophie Mutter


PREVIN AT 90 | An Appreciation

your immigration to the USA via Paris. Has there ever been a more beautiful, more romantic engagement gift? Certainly not! It is one of the most significant violin concertos of the last 100 years and I am delighted we have been able to perform it all over the world. This was followed by the Double Concerto for Violin, Contrabass and Orchestra in 2007. It was such an adventure: highly virtuosic and original, with a huge cadenza in the middle in which violin and double bass chase each other across all 8 strings. Finally, a concerto in which the bass is treated as an equal solo instrument! And again, in 2009, you set a milestone for the repertoire with your magnificent concerto for viola, violin and orchestra. But it is your chamber music - in addition to your epic operas ‘Streetcar’ and Brief Encounter – in which your exuberant emotional tone, the enormous rhythmical muscle and the fine sense of humor blooms particularly well. Your Sonata No 2 and Trio No 2 are exemplars of that. And when I asked you to write a work for a small string ensemble, which turned into the Violin Concerto No 2, you encompassed a prominent harpsichord part with a sort of improvisando jazzy cadenza… your compositional imagination knows no boundaries. I do not know any living composer who orchestrates unerringly with such ease, and with such an original and colorful style. You are the master! Your transparency and clever guidance of solo lines are a dream come true for every soloist. Speaking of which… Nonet, which became a core repertoire piece of my ensemble Mutter Virtuosi, is another wonderful example of this. When preparing for the premiere of it, I found in you a trusted and open-minded partner. Regarding dynamics or even tempo markings, which you so often chose not to give, you would say, ‘a good musician knows what to do’. I wish from the bottom of my heart that infinite generations of ‘good’ musicians will know what to do and play your music with as much love, passion and gratitude as I have been able to do in the last 20 years. Now, my anticipation for my tenth world premiere of one of your works – The Fifth Season at Carnegie Hall – is indescribable. This shall be the beginning of a non-stop celebration of your genius leading up to your birthday. You are the darling of the gods, dear André. May you have infinite creative power as a pianist, chamber music partner, conductor, composer and jazz musician. Let all the world fall into rapture! …and I may stay your muse; there is still plenty left to compose for the violin. But first, you should do as Penelope says and finish your third opera. Anne-Sophie Mutter, 21 October 2017



PREVIN AT 90 | An Appreciation


Above: ‘a big hug from your Anne-Sophie’

PREVIN AT 90 | In Conversation

PREVIN IN CONVERSATION with DAVID FETHEROLF, Editor/Production Manager, G. Schirmer/AMP

David: How did you come to music? André: Oh, I had no choice. I mean, first of all, I really wanted to be a musician. And I asked for piano lessons when I was little. My father was not a professional, but he was a good amateur musician who played enthusiastic, loud and wrong piano. He adored it. He did something for me that I’m very grateful for even now. He had all the great symphonies: Beethoven, Brahms, Schubert, Schumann, in four-hand editions. And he and I would play them at sight, and at tempo, every day. And he made me learn to sight read, but I mean quickly. Also, he taught me the trick of leaving out what, for the moment, you don’t need. And that has stood me in very good stead ever since. Much later, when I was working at the studios, Szigeti lived out in Los Angeles, and he was great friends with the first cellist of the MGM orchestra, who, in turn, told him there was this kid who could sight read anything. So, Szigeti asked me to come over, and we played. He was sent all the modern things, because that was his thing. And I had to plow through the damndest music, you know. But I managed. And then one night he said, ‘Listen, you’ve done very well, thank you; why don’t we relax and play a trio? Let’s play a Beethoven trio’. And I said, ‘Well, I don’t know them’. Long pause. And he said, ‘How do you mean, you don’t know them?’ And I said, ‘Well, I just don’t; I’ve never had to play them’. And he said, ‘But you’re a very good pianist. Alright.


PREVIN AT 90 | In Conversation

Today is Monday. From now on every Monday you come out here, I’ll give you something to eat, and we’ll play trios’. And we played Beethoven trios and Mozart and Schumann and Schubert. He made me play the repertoire. And that was extremely generous of him, to waste his time on me. So, all that instant music making that we’re talking about, sight reading and all that, I’ve done that ever since I was a kid. I’m very happy about that. And then I had lessons, theory lessons, and then counterpoint lessons and all that, from a man called Joseph Achron. He was a Russian composer. I used to go to his house after school and he would give me lessons. And just to give you an inkling of what his teaching methods were like, one time he said to me, ‘For next week I want you to write a strict fugue for a string quartet. Use all of the rules’. And I thought, ‘Oh, my god’. And I went home and I worked my butt off; I can’t tell you. Because it’s hard to do. And I went back, and I showed him the fugue, and he looked at it very carefully, and he said, ‘Can’t find anything wrong. I’ll look at it again’. He looked at it again and he said, ‘No, that’s really; that’s admirable. Just a minute’. And he looked at it for a third time, and then he said, ‘Ah! Hidden octaves’. And he took the whole fugue and tore it up. And he said, ‘Write another one’. I could have cheerfully killed him. Because I was a kid. I was like 13 or something. But, I can still write a bad fugue, maybe not good, but I can still do it, and that was because of him. God, he was tough. Whew. You’ve written so much in different genres. Is there any structure or gesture you think you’ve carried through all of them? No. I like writing for people I know: in other words, for people that I know are going to play it or sing it. Or for an occasion that I’m familiar with. I can’t write... I’m not so talented a composer that I write into the blue. I’ve got to know what it’s for. And that’s probably because of my very misspent youth at studios, because there, they didn’t care how good it was but they want it by Wednesday, you know. I can think of one gesture that is present from at least the time you improvised with Oscar Peterson… Oh yes? …through to the present, which is the second. You love seconds: minor seconds, major seconds. Really?


PREVIN AT 90 | In Conversation

Yes. And you often write minor seconds as an augmented unison. Well, if you say so. That’s just your ear. It’s nothing that you really think about? No, I mean, well, I came to jazz very late. But I did come to it, and then Oscar Peterson was a really towering pianist. My god. Amazing. Amazing. And he liked me and we were friends. And the last time he played at a club in New York was at the Blue Note. I went to see him. They gave me a table which was as far away from the piano as I am from you. And Oscar played, played his usual amazing things, and he looked up and he saw me. He stopped and he pointed to me and said, ‘I thought I got rid of you’. [They laugh] Nice. Nice compliment. Back to the idea of writing for people you know; your relationships with both Renée and Anne-Sophie are deep and long lived. Is there anything you’d care to say about them? Well, I mean, I met Anne-Sophie and I fell in love with her and we married. And even before we were married, we were together for a couple of years. I met her backstage at the Berlin Philharmonic when she played. And I went back stage to meet her, and the manager then said, ‘Well that’s her father over there; go and say hello’. I said ‘okay’. So he introduced us and we were pretty inseparable from then on. And we had a great many musical things

André Previn and David Fetherolf in New York, 2017.


PREVIN AT 90 | In Conversation

in common. And something we did that people like hearing is, you know those Bach chorales, four-voice chorales? Well, I bought those. And they are fabulous. I mean, the cadences are just incredible. So, when we were together, we would wake up, and before breakfast, we’d play a few of those, four-handed, or she’d sing the top line, or she’d play. And it was... really, it was... I can’t tell you what a cleansing feeling playing those pieces gives you.

“You know the Schirmer’s cover, the yellow one? That’s why I went with Schirmer; I wanted that cover. I wanted to be on that cover, like Sam Barber and all of them.” Once, Carnegie Hall was doing commissions for an anniversary. And they said they wanted me to get together with Toni Morrison. And I said, ‘Wonderful!’ I wrote some songs with Toni Morrison’s words [Honey and Rue]. When I played them for Anne-Sophie, she said, ‘Will you write me something?’ I said, ‘Sure. I’d love it.’ And I wrote her a piece called Tango Song and Dance, and I never looked back. I’m always writing something for her, always. And with Renée, my recommendation to all composers is, if they write something for voice, write it for Renée. There’s something very... I don’t know... to write something for someone you know, when I mean I know exactly how she’s going to sound on what notes. What’s the attraction you have to the play as an art form that makes you want to turn it into an opera? Well, Lotfi Mansouri, who was the director at San Francisco Opera, had asked me to write something on a kind of Greco-Roman plot. And I called him and I said, ‘Lotfi, I can’t write for people in togas. I just don’t know how... and don’t Idomeneo me because I’m not Mozart.’ By that, I meant, it’s got to be in an


PREVIN AT 90 | In Conversation

atmosphere I understand. So he called me a couple of months later and he said, ‘What about A Streetcar Named Desire?’ And I said, ‘Stay by the phone; I’m going to send over my signed contract right now’. And that’s how that came about: because I thought it was a phenomenal play, absolutely phenomenal. I had read a long correspondence between Tennessee Williams and Kazan, in which Tennessee said, ‘People keep talking about Brando in this play, but,’ he said, ‘it’s all about Blanche’. He said, ‘I’m Blanche’, he said; ‘the play’s about me’. And it opened my eyes. I thought, that’s just an amazing thing to say. And, you know, I was really very happy writing that. And then the next one, Brief Encounter, was also a movie, a David Lean movie, but very touching and very nice. But you see, I love the theater and I like vocal music, so it was a jackpot for me to write both. I mean, I’m writing a kind of a one-act something or other now, with Tom Stoppard again, about Penelope. And I’m really looking forward to it; it’s also for Renée. You’ve studied a lot of music. You’re a composer, you’re a conductor, you’re a performer. You’ve seen a lot. You’ve worked with a lot of great people. Is there any single person that you think has had a big influence on how you approach your own performing or composing? Well, I think it’s wonderful to study scores, and I enjoy doing it a lot. I have got better at figuring out modern scores, and that was helped a lot by the fact that I heard and fell in love with Messiaen’s music. And I studied some of that and I did Turangalîla in about five cities. And you know, that’s a fascinating piece. Anyway, I got better at deciphering new scores, and I did some things of Wolfgang Rihm. And there is a very, very clever composer called Sebastian Currier. But I wouldn’t like to just do that kind of music, or just do Mozart and Haydn. Haydn is a particular love of mine. There’s always something that you haven’t done that you should look at. Who is the composer who plays the piano and his wife sings kind of American Songbook? That’s Bill Bolcom and Joan Morris. Yes; I like his music. It’s very, very clever; much better than clever. He wrote a couple of violin sonatas that are very good, very good. I like a lot of new music.


PREVIN AT 90 | In Conversation

Is there something you’d like to write that you haven’t? Or somebody you’d like to work with that you haven’t? Well, sure, I have a lot of people whose playing I absolutely love. I like Gil Shaham’s playing. I’d love to work with Kissin sometime. That’s an amazing pianist, boy oh boy. Martha Argerich; Martha has the kind of technique where you just give up. I mean, really. When I listen to her, I feel like sitting there and waving a white flag, because there isn’t anything that she can’t do with consummate ease. In your chamber works (although you do this in your orchestral works as well) you often don’t put in very many markings for dynamics or even tempi. And over the years I’ve had people call me at work because they think that there’s been a mistake in the printing. I give them an explanation which I think makes sense, but, what’s your reason? Well, you see, I learned as a conductor, if you’ve got a good player playing, leave ‘em alone. First. And then if he does something that you don’t like, then you can suggest, not tell him, maybe a different way. But there are so many conductors I know, really good conductors, who, you know, the first chord, “No, no, no!” Please, let them play, because they’ll fix something long before the conductor will anyway. And it’s pointless to do it with Anne-Sophie because she puts her own in anyway. You should look at the violin parts on my chamber music that she plays. You never saw so much red and blue pencil in your life. I must say, I’ve never found her to be musically wrong. She likes a lot of dynamics, up and down, all the time. That’s evident from the concerto as well. The concerto is barely marked, but she, even in the premiere recording, she was shaping it, making it her own, all the time. Yeah, well, she’s... I used to play a lot of chamber music in Pittsburgh, when I had that orchestra, because I had a whole series. And I always played with whoever was around that week. And another person I loved playing chamber music with was Pinky Zukerman. He’s the best violist I know. He’s quite wonderful. And the first cellist in the Vienna Philharmonic, Franz Bartolomey, I recorded the Strauss Don Quixote with him. He’s also one, I’ll write anything he wants me to.


PREVIN AT 90 | In Conversation

Just curious, did you only study piano? You studied no stringed instruments? No. Because you do this thing I really love, as a player. When you’re writing, especially orchestral textures, lots of times you’ll have runs of sixteenth notes… Yeah. …and you’ll go from détaché to two slurred to four slurred, and it just so subtly alters the orchestral texture. But you like that? Very much so. And once again, it’s something that you’re not even thinking about; you just do it? I just do it, yeah. My knowledge of strings is purely from a conductor’s point of view. But it’s fairly considerable, because for many, many years I did it every day. And then to go home and there was Anne-Sophie; that doesn’t hurt, either. Also, another way you alter the timbral texture is, like in the violin concerto, the “Anne-Sophie”, in the second movement, it gets very spacious. It’s kind of counter-intuitive, because you almost never use the whole orchestra. No; I know that. And you do the same thing in Honey and Rue. I know. It’s been pointed out to me. But counter-intuitively you build this giant space. Well, I like that. For instance, there are several bars in the second movement of the concerto where the viola and the celli are playing violin 1 and 2 parts, and violin 1 and 2 are not there, and so it’s just that the timbre is slightly different than one expects. 12

PREVIN AT 90 | In Conversation

Yeah, well, I just prefer that. I like having the wherewithal to have a huge orchestra and then write for it as if it were a chamber orchestra. In the entire concerto, there is one eighth note, one eighth beat, where everyone plays except the harp and piano. [They laugh] Well, that’s just slovenliness on my part! Oh no, it’s great. There’s another part in the third movement of the concerto, there are just these little moments that put me in mind of the Tchaikovsky. And I was wondering if you ever have in the back of your head, all this music you’ve played and written and listened to, and if it comes out sometimes in the moment, as you’re writing? Oh yes, I mean, listen. I was once on tour with the Vienna, and we played Prokofiev 5 every night. We played it about eight times, plus rehearsals and all that. And then when I went back home and started writing, it was pure Prokofiev. It was ridiculous. I couldn’t get rid of it. I’ll tell you something that I studied very thoroughly was that insane cadenza in the Shostakovich first violin concerto, the one that Oistrakh played. Whew. You know what I’m talking about? Yes. The one in E flat where the soloist and celesta play together? Yeah... that’s good music. Are there any pieces of yours that you do really love and that you want played? It depends on what’s on the program just before it. Once, I had a piece played by Philadelphia, and I thought I liked the piece very much, but they played it right after La Mer, and it doesn’t work. Oh my god, no. There are some pieces I write I like. I wrote a piece about ten years ago called Owls, and I liked that very much. I wrote a trio for oboe, bassoon, and piano. That was a long time ago. It was very Poulenc-like. But I enjoyed that very much. You know the Schirmer’s cover, the yellow one? That’s why I went with Schirmer; I wanted that cover. I wanted to be on that cover, like Sam Barber and all of them. André Previn’s home, New York, September 7, 2017


PREVIN AT 90 | In Conversation

Top: AndrĂŠ Previn discusses a score with William Walton. Bottom left & right: Previn in his younger years.


PREVIN AT 90 | In Conversation

Top left: Previn. Top right, top: Anne-Sophie Mutter, Daniel Mßller-Schott and Previn, 2006, press for the performance of Mozart Trios Š Harald Hoffmann / DG. Top right, bottom: Previn conducts Mutter in a performance of his Violin Concerto, 2002. Bottom: Previn meets President Clinton.


PREVIN AT 90 | Composer's Selections


Duration: 15 minutes Orchestration: 2(pic).2(ca).2+bcl.2/

A fifteen-minute tone poem which flows along peacefully, Owls is a study in timbres and sonority. The paired winds that open the work also state the main motif, which returns throughout in various guises.

Trio for Piano, Oboe and Bassoon (1994) Duration: 19 minutes Ensemble: ob.bsn/pf

The first movement’s contrasting themes provide an interplay between ‘spikey’, rhythmically active music and a lovely melody. Opening with a piano introduction, the slow second movement becomes a mournful duet between the reeds, with comments and transitions provided by the piano. The third movement is a fun romp with jazzy metric changes piling atop one another, and then, a second contrasting theme becomes interspersed with the first, setting the reeds apart from the piano, the whole coming to a rollicking end.

Violin Concerto No 1 “Anne-Sophie” (2001)

Duration: 38 minutes Soloist(s): violin Orchestration: 3(pic).2+ca.2+bcl.2+cbn/

The second movement starts with the cadenza, and it is the most austere. In November 1999, I called my manager from a train in Germany to wish him happy birthday, and he told me ‘from a train in Germany’ would make a great title for a piece. It’s now the third movement of the concerto, a set of variations on a German children’s song I knew as a kid, ‘Wenn ich ein Vöglein wär’ (If I were a bird, I would fly to you . . .’). Above the third movement I have put a quote from ‘Little Gidding’ from T.S. Eliot’s ‘Four Quartets’: ‘We shall not cease from exploration And the end of all our exploring Will be to arrive where we started And know the place for the first time.’ Note by André Previn


PREVIN AT 90 | Composer's Selections

Nonet (2014)

Duration: 16 minutes Orchestration: 4vn, 2va, 2vc, db

Written for the Mutter Virtuosi, this work, consisting of two string quartets and a contrabass, delivers. The quartets play together and play off each other. Soloists from each do likewise while the bass acts as the anchor and interlocutor between the others. Written with great intuitiveness for strings, at times it brings to mind late Shostakovich in the very best way, especially in its second movement, which is somber, serene, piquant and beautiful all at the same time.

Honey & Rue (1992)

Text Writer: Toni Morrison Duration: 27 minutes Soloist: soprano Orchestration: 22(ca).22/2201/jazz drums/jazz bass/

These six songs set to texts by Toni Morrison showcase Previn’s surety in writing for voice as well as his ability effortlessly to mix and meld musical styles. As he often does with works for orchestra and soloist his instrumental writing is subdued and much more chamber-like than one usually finds in such pieces. The space he creates always allows the soloist to blossom. An ease and elegance is evident throughout Honey and Rue. As the critic Bernard Holland wrote, ‘Honey and Rue shrinks from excess’. It is an altogether lovely piece.

Concerto for Orchestra (2016)

Duration: 25 minutes Orchestration: 3(pic).2(ca)+ca.2(Eb♭cl)+bcl.2+cbn/4.3.2+btbn.1/timp.3perc/hp.cel/str

Opening in a pastoral style, the concerto’s opening movement plays with the establishment and development of motifs in quickly altering meters and rhythms. It by no means an academic exercise, but typically for Previn, it is emotionally engaging, returning to pastoral ideas throughout the movement. The second movement, melodic and generally quiet, is called “Duets” and comprises of actual duets as well as duets between sections. The somber and melodically sentimental third movement, ‘Remember’ leads into the Finale, packed with several exciting gear shifts: a short brass statement; into a section that resembles a Bachian concerto grosso in style, texture and sound, followed by a slow introspective section towards the end and a brisk climax to finish.


PREVIN AT 90 | The Operas Renee Fleming playing Blanche in the pemiere performance of Previn’s A Streetcar Named Desire (1997), an LA Opera productions

Blanche DuBois (Renée Fleming) arrives at her sister Stella’s house in the world premiere of Previn’s A Streetcare Named Desire given at the San Francisco Opera, 1998.

18 © Marty Sohl, courtesy: San Francisco Opera

PREVIN AT 90 | The Operas


an appreciation by RENÉE FLEMING


remiering the role of Blanche DuBois in André Previn’s A Streetcar Named Desire was a real highlight in my career. Since the first performance in San Francisco in 1998, I have sung the role in London, Chicago, Los Angeles, and at Carnegie Hall. The work has entered the standard repertoire, with productions all over the globe – a truly rare distinction for a contemporary opera. This is of course due to André’s remarkable gifts as a composer. He writes with an immediately recognisable musical language that is consistent, and distinctly his own – one of the hallmarks of a truly great composer. Crucial for opera and song, he is able to write declamatory music that tells a story, combined with moments of expressive beauty that convey the inner life of the character. His impressive background as an orchestrator enabled him to shape the piece and its textures so that every word could be understood. I have been fortunate to sing the premieres of a number of Previn’s songs as well. His setting of ‘The Giraffes Go to Hamburg’, featuring soprano and alto flute, is lyrical and deeply moving, a perfect complement to Isak Dinesen’s text. And Previn’s three Emily Dickinson settings, along with his new lyrical Yeats settings, possess variety, humor and expressive color, with a spare, sometimes bracing accompaniment. Being present at the inception of these beautiful works has been a recurring joy of my life as a musician.


PREVIN AT 90 | The Operas


Text writer: John Caird, based on the play Still Life by Noël Coward Duration: 1 hour 30 minutes Soloist(s): 4 sopranos, mezzo-soprano, contralto, 4 baritones, bass, non-singing roles Orchestration: 3(pic).2(ca).2+bcl.2/4331/timp.2perc/ cel.hp/str + onstage piano trio (vn, vc, pf)

SYNOPSIS During the early years of World War II in England, Laura Jesson takes the train to a nearby town once a week for shopping and a movie. She is married to the respectable, middle-class Fred Jesson but is unfulfilled by her routine and dull life. On one such Thursday trip to the shops, Laura recounts, she encounters the charming local doctor, Alec Harvey, who, like Laura, is married with two children. In an unexpected moment of intimacy, he removes a speck of grit from her eye. They part ways at the end of their journey, but further chance meetings, first on the street and then again at the café, spark new passion in her life. Laura and Alec stroll by the river, dine together and discuss their spouses. Alec confesses his love for Laura and, despite their acknowledgement of how dangerous their love might prove, he kisses her for the first time. They continue to meet surreptitiously. On a wild and windy day, they return to the river where they strolled. Laura’s feelings for Alec become so intense that she feels she is being dragged away from herself. She imagines her own death. Alec explains he won’t return on the train that evening, but rather stay at his friend’s empty flat. He offers Laura the address and asks her to stay with him that night. Finally, with her feelings now fully awoken and a new fulfilling life in sight, Laura must decide between love and loyalty.


PREVIN AT 90 | The Operas


Text writer: Tom Stoppard Duration: 58 minutes Language: English Soloist(s): 6 actors Orchestration: 3(pic)3(ca)3(Ebcl,bcl)3(cbn)/5331/ timp.4perc/’s triangle/Sacha’s voice/str

SYNOPSIS Acting and music are inseparably combined in this work. Alexander Ivanov, a political dissident, is imprisoned in a Soviet mental hospital and will not be released until he recants his statements made against the government. Stuck in the asylum alongside Alexander is a schizophrenic also named Ivanov whose fantasy is that he possesses a symphony orchestra. They both report regularly to a doctor, who is himself a member of an orchestra. From time to time he steps down to join the imaginary orchestra – clearly visible to the audience – which surrounds the inmates’ cell. ‘Your opinions are your symptoms. Your disease is your dissent’, Alexander is told. Intermittently we see the drama unfolding outside of the hospital. Alexander’s son Sacha is taught by a classroom teacher trying to convince him that his father is truly suffering from mental illness. Should Alexander continue to hunger strike in defence of his ideals or submit so that he might take care of his son, who is desperate for him to return? This, one of Stoppard’s finest plays, blends fantasy and reality throughout.


PREVIN AT 90 | The Operas Left: Stanley Kowalski (Rodney Gilfry) embraces his wife Stella (Elizabeth Futral) in A Streetcar Named Desire. San Francisco Opera, 1998.

Scene from the LA Opera revival of Previn’s A Streetcar Named Desire (1997).


© Marty Sohl, courtesy of San Francisco Opera

PREVIN AT 90 | The Operas

PREVIN AT 90 | The Operas


Text writer: Libretto by Philip Littell, based on the play by Tennessee Williams Duration: 2 hours 45 minutes Language: English Soloist: 2 sopranos, 2 mezzo-sopranos, 2 tenors, 2 baritones, 3 non-singing roles Orchestration: 3(2pic+2afl).2(ca).3(2Ebcl+asx+bcl).2(cbn)/4331/ timp(bd).2perc/hp.cel/str Alternative Orchestration: 2(pic,afl).2(ca).2(asx:Ebcl,bcl) .2(cbn)/2.2(cnt).2.1/timp.perc/hp.kbd/str - reduction by Peter Grunberg

SYNOPSIS The opera is in three acts and takes place at the home of Stanley and Stella Kowalski at Elysian Fields, New Orleans. When Blanche DuBois comes to visit her sister Stella and her husband Stanley Kowalski in New Orleans, she has lost her ancestral home and her job. Blanche and Stanley dislike each other from the outset: Blanche sees Stanley as a violent man and urges her sister to leave him; Stanley sees Blanche as a moral degenerate who brings shame on the family. He tries to poison her lover’s mind against her and eventually rapes her. The strain proves too much and Blanche loses her mind. She has now lost her lover and her sister, who refuses to believe her accusations against Stanley. As the opera ends, Blanche has been committed to the asylum where from now on, she will have to rely on the kindness of strangers.

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PREVIN AT 90 | The Operas

Top & middle: Janice Watson plays Blanche DuBois in The Vienna State Opera’s 2008 Austrian premiere of ‘Streetcar’. Bottom: Stanley Kowalski (Rodney Gilfry) and Blanche DuBois (Renée Fleming), San Francisco Opera, 1998.


PREVIN AT 90 | The Complete Works


Almost an Overture (2017) Duration: 10 minutes Orchestration: 2+pic.2(ca).3(Ebcl).2/ 4.3.2+btbn.0/timp.2perc/hp/str

Diversions (1999) Duration: 20 minutes Orchestration: 2(pic).2.2(Ebcl,bcl).2(cbn)/

Can Spring Be Far Behind? (2016) European premiere reserved through October 2017 Duration: 15 minutes Orchestration: 2+pic.2.2(Ebcl)+bcl.2/3.2.1+btbn.0/ timp.perc/hp/str( players min)

Music for Boston (2012) Duration: 16 minutes Orchestration: 2+pic.2+ca.2+Ebcl+bcl.2+cbn/4331/ timp.perc/hp/str Night Thoughts (2005) Duration: 20 minutes Orchestration: 3(pic).2+ca.2+Ebcl+bcl.2/4331/ timp.2perc/cel.hp/str

Caps and Bells (2015) Duration: 5 minutes Orchestration: 2020/2111/ perc(timp)/str(min 22222)

Owls (2008) Duration: 10 minutes Orchestration: 2(pic).2(ca).2+bcl.2/4300/ timp.perc/cel.hp/str

Concerto for Orchestra (2016) Duration: 25 minutes Orchestration: c).2(ca)+ca.2(Ebcl)+bcl.2+cbn/ 4.3.2+btbn.1/timp.3perc/hp.cel/str Available for performances from January 2022 onwards.

Principals (1980) Duration: 14 minutes Orchestration: 3(pic).2+ca.3(Ebcl)+bcl.2+cbn/4331/ timp.perc/


PREVIN AT 90 | The Complete Works


Concerto for Cello and Orchestra (2010) Duration: 17 minutes Soloist(s): cello Orchestration: 3(pic).2+ca.2+bcl.2/4331/ timp.2perc/hp.cel/str(

Double Concerto for Violin, Contrabass and Orchestra (2007) Duration: 28 minutes Soloist(s): violin, bass Orchestration: 3(pic).2+ca.2+Ebcl+bcl.2+cbn/4231/timp.2perc/hp/str

Concerto for Guitar (1971) Duration: 25 minutes Soloist(s): guitar Orchestration: 2(pic)2(ca)2(Ebcl)+bcl.2/ drums/egtr.hp/str

Double Concerto for Violin, Violoncello and Orchestra (2014) Duration: 20 minutes Soloist(s): violin, cello Orchestration: 3.2.2+bcl.2(cbn)/4000/ timp.perc/str

Concerto for Harp and Orchestra (2007) Duration: 15 minutes Soloist(s): harp Orchestration: 3(pic).2(ca).2+bcl.2+cbn/4.2.2+btbn.1/timp.2perc/cel/str

Honey & Rue (1992) Text Writer: Toni Morrison Duration: 27 minutes Soloist(s): soprano Orchestration: 22(ca).22/2201/jazz drums/jazz bass/

Concerto for Piano (1985), Duration: 28 minutes Soloist(s): piano Orchestration: 3(pic).2+ca.3(Ebcl,asx:bcl).3(cbn)/4331/timp.4perc/hp/str[=double str orch]

I Can Smell the Sea Air (from A Streetcar Named Desire) (1997) Text Writer: Philip Littell, based on the play by Tennessee Williams Duration: 3 minutes Language: English Soloist(s): soprano Orchestration: 2.1+ca.3.2(cbn)/4331/ timp.cel.hp/str

Concerto for Violin, Viola, and Orchestra (2009) Duration: 20 minutes Soloist(s): violin, viola Orchestration: 3.2+ca.2+bcl.2/4331/ tmp.2perc.hp/str


PREVIN AT 90 | The Complete Works

I Want Magic (from A Streetcar Named Desire) (1997) Text writer: Philip Littell, based on the play by Tennessee Williams Duration: 3 minutes Language: English Soloist(s): soprano Orchestration: 3(afl).2.2+bcl.0/ vib.cel.hp/str

Violin Concerto No 2 (2010) Duration: 24 minutes Soloist(s): violin Orchestration: hpd, str Vocalise (1995) Duration: 4 minutes Soloist(s): voice, cello Orchestration: 1100/1000/str Alternative Orchestration: soprano, vc, pf

Reflections (1981) Duration: 13 minutes Soloist(s): cor anglais (or cello) Orchestration: 2(pic)22(bcl)2/4220/ timp.perc/hp/str(87654) Sallie Chisum Remembers Billy the Kid (1995) Text Writer: Michael Ondaatje, from a text by Walter Noble Burns Duration: 10 minutes Soloist(s): soprano Orchestration: 222(bcl)2/2200/perc/str Alternative Orchestration: soprano, piano


Song (from Tango Song and Dance) (1997, arr. 2007) Duration: 4 minutes Soloist(s): violin Orchestration: 2.2.2+bcl.2/2000/hp/str

Music for Wind Orchestra (No Strings Attached) (2014) Ensemble: 4(2pic).4+ca.4(Ebcl:bcl). 4(cbn).2asx.tsx.barsx/ timp.4perc/db

Triple Concerto (2011) Duration: 18 minutes Soloist(s): horn, trumpet, tuba Orchestration: 3(pic).2+ca.2+bcl.2/0.0.2+btbn.0/timp.perc/hp/str

Nonet (2014) Duration: 16 minutes Ensemble: 4vn.2va.2vc.db Octet for Eleven (2010) Duration: 16 minutes Ensemble:

Violin Concerto “Anne-Sophie� (2001) Duration: 38 minutes Soloist(s): violin Orchestration: 3(pic).2+ca.2+bcl.2+cbn/4330/timp.2perc/cel.hp/str

Triolet for Brass (1985) Duration: 18 minutes Ensemble: hn.4tpt.4tbn.tba


PREVIN AT 90 | The Complete Works

CHAMBER WORKS Cello Sonata (1993) Duration: 31 minutes Ensemble: cello, piano CH60965

Peaches (1978) Duration: 5 minutes Ensemble: flute, piano HC00101

Clarinet Quintet (2011) Duration: 22 minutes Ensemble: cl/ GSP47096SET

Piano Trio (2009) Duration: 17 minutes Ensemble: CH61162

Four Outings for Brass Duration: 12 minutes Ensemble: hn.2tpt.tbn.tba CH55017

Quintet for Horn and Strings (2017) Duration: 15 minutes Ensemble: hn/ GSP57432SET

Hoch soll er leben (1997) Duration: 3 minutes Ensemble: hn.2tpt.tbn.tba GSP25025SET

Sonata for Bassoon and Piano Duration: 13 minutes Ensemble: bassoon, piano GS83337

Matthew’s Piano Book (1979) Duration: 14 minutes Ensemble: piano HC00103

Sonata for Clarinet and Piano (2010) Duration: 14 minutes Ensemble: clarinet, piano GSP43412SET

Montfort (2016) Duration: 11 minutes Ensemble: oboe, piano GSP56896SET

Sonata for Violin “Vineyard” (1994) Duration: 25 minutes Ensemble: violin, piano CH61112

Morning Rain and Warm Evening (2013) Duration: 5 minutes Ensemble: violin, piano GSP49105SET

Sonata No 2 for Violin and Piano (2011) Duration: 17 minutes Ensemble: violin, piano GSP47412SET

Paraphrase on a Theme of William Walton (1973) Duration: 4 minutes Ensemble: piano NOV100204

Tango Song and Dance (1997) Duration: 15 minutes Ensemble: violin, piano HL50483447


PREVIN AT 90 | The Complete Works

Trio for Piano, Oboe and Bassoon (1994) Duration: 19 minutes Ensemble: ob.bsn/pf CH61162

Four Songs (1994) Text writer: Toni Morrison Duration: 20 minutes Soloist: soprano Ensemble: cello, piano CH61089

Trio No. 2 (2012) Duration: 20 minutes Ensemble: GSP47577SET

Four Songs (2004) Text writer: William Carlos Williams and Philip Larkin Duration: 9 minutes Language: English Ensemble: tenor, piano HL50486045

Two Little Serenades Duration: 5 minutes Ensemble: vn, pf GS29083

The Giraffes Go to Hamburg (2000) Text writer: Isak Dinesen Duration: 12 minutes Language: English Ensemble: voice/afl/pf HL50483686

Variations on a Theme by Haydn (1990) Duration: 16 minutes Ensemble: piano HC00123 A Wedding Waltz (1986) Duration: 2 minutes Ensemble: 2ob/pf HC00116

I Can Smell the Sea Air (from A Streetcar Named Desire) (1997) Text writer: Philip Littell, based on the play by Tennessee Williams Duration: 3 minutes Language: English Ensemble: soprano, piano HL50483529


I Want Magic (from A Streetcar Named Desire) (1997) Text writer: Philip Littell, based on the play by Tennessee Williams Duration: 3 minutes Language: English Ensemble: soprano, piano HL50483528

Five Songs (1977) Morning has Spread Again / Home Is So Sad / Friday Night in the Royal Station Hotel / Talking in Bed / The Trees Text writer: Philip Larkin Duration: 13 minutes Ensemble: mezzo soprano, piano HC00100

Sieben Lieder (2006) Text writer: Theodor Storm Duration: 20 minutes Ensemble: soprano, piano GSP46250SET


PREVIN AT 90 | The Complete Works

String Quartet (with Soprano) (2003) Duration: 27 minutes Soloist: soprano Ensemble: GSP31699SET

Two Remembrances (1995) Text writer: Else Lasker-Schüler (translation by Michael J. Gillespie) and from the silent film, ‘Frau Eva’ (trans. by Willis Barnstone) Duration: 7 minutes Ensemble: soprano/afl/pf GS83603 / GS83603 (pf)

Ten by Yeats (2017) Text writer: W.B. Yeats Duration: Ensemble: soprano, piano GSP57613VOC

Vocalise (reduced version) (1995) Duration: 4 minutes Ensemble: soprano/pf/vc Alternative Orchestration: 1100/1000/str GS83603

Three Dickinson Songs (1999) Text writer: Emily Dickinson Duration: 10 minutes Language: English Ensemble: soprano, piano GS83603

Previn conducting his Violin Concerto No 1 “Anne-Sophie” with the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra, at the Gasteig, Munich, February 2004. Photo: A. P. Mutter


PREVIN AT 90 | The Complete Works

‘The winner of four Academy Awards and ten Grammy Awards, André Previn has had an unparalleled career as composer, conductor and pianist, spanning classical, film and jazz. André is among the preeminent and most influential artists of our time, and we at G. Schirmer/AMP /Music Sales Group are honoured to be his publisher.’ Robert Thompson

President, G Schirmer/AMP


PREVIN AT 90 | The Complete Works

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