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 Posted:   May 22, 2014 - 8:22 AM   
 By:   Preston Neal Jones   (Member)

Very interesting interview in a recent L.A. Times, touching on many facets of his multi-faceted career including, of course, the movies.

(A day or two later, the Times' music critic Mark Swed wrote a very favorable review of the L.A. premier of A.P.'s opera, STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE.)




http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/arts/la-et-cm-andre-previn-streetcar-20140518-story.html#page=1

 
 
 Posted:   May 22, 2014 - 9:09 AM   
 By:   eriknelson   (Member)

Thanks for posting this. Very entertaining.

I loved the part about TCM being his only contact with Hollywood nowadays. He may be right about THE FOUR HORSEMEN OF THE APOCALYPSE being a load of crap, but the score he wrote is a towering achievement.

It reminds me of other discussions on this board concerning wonderful Jerry Goldsmith scores for dreadful films.

 
 
 Posted:   May 22, 2014 - 10:39 AM   
 By:   Smaug   (Member)

I respect and understand Previn's position, but the guy has done so much damage to film music. Personally, he felt he had to turn his back totally on it. But he gave a lot of ammo to the classical music world who could hold him up as an example, "Previn was there, you see, and he says it's all crap."

 
 Posted:   May 22, 2014 - 10:47 AM   
 By:   Maleficio   (Member)

I don't get that Previn quote where he tells John Williams to get out of the film score industry; John Williams barely scores any films to be begin with.

 
 
 Posted:   May 22, 2014 - 1:08 PM   
 By:   Smaug   (Member)

It's old hat between Previn and Williams. He always has these dismissive things to say. I'm just as much a classical music guy as I am a film music guy and I hate to break it to Previn but hardly anyone cares about the classical music he's written. He was a very good conductor but not a great like Walter, Solti, Giulini, etc.

Where I take exception is that John Williams has nothing to feel bad about or apologize for. He's possibly the greatest and most popular composer of the last 60 years. Do we feel bad that Puccini didn't write a symphony? For those who want classical Williams he has written enough for it to be judged against the history of concert pieces. But honestly they don't reach the level of alchemical accomplishment of his greatest film scores...Musically or culturally.

 
 Posted:   May 22, 2014 - 2:42 PM   
 By:   Ron Pulliam   (Member)

The only good music in the opera "A Streetcar Named Desire" is that which Previn wrote for the transition scenes. It is all in his very best "Hollywood mode" and makes you think things will get better, which they don't. Some very excellent singers have performed Previn's "Streetcar"....and they get props from me for doing so.

I think of it as an opera for insomniacs.

 
 
 Posted:   May 22, 2014 - 3:15 PM   
 By:   eriknelson   (Member)

The only good music in the opera "A Streetcar Named Desire" is that which Previn wrote for the transition scenes. It is all in his very best "Hollywood mode" and makes you think things will get better, which they don't. Some very excellent singers have performed Previn's "Streetcar"....and they get props from me for doing so.

I think of it as an opera for insomniacs.


"Brief Encounter" is similar. Throughout the opera there are moments when you think Previn is going to let loose and give us something rapturous. But then the music goes off on a tangent. The opera premiered here in Houston in 2009 with the Maestro in attendance.

 
 
 Posted:   May 22, 2014 - 3:49 PM   
 By:   Smaug   (Member)

My favorite piece of his concert works is his Violin Concerto. It sounds 100% pure Hollywood. With that said, if that's what I'm in the mood for, I'll listen to the Korngold concerto 9 times out of 10.

I bought Streetcar and listened to it twice. Never held my attention for three CDs. I always found myself wishing I were listening to Alex North's Streetcar.

 
 Posted:   May 22, 2014 - 3:54 PM   
 By:   Yavar Moradi   (Member)

I agree. Previn is a good conductor and a decent composer for the concert hall. But he was a truly GREAT film composer, and if he'd stayed in the biz I suspect today he'd be regarded almost equal in stature with John Williams.

Yavar

 
 
 Posted:   May 22, 2014 - 5:09 PM   
 By:   RM Eastman   (Member)

Previn is an average conductor, average composer of concert music("Streetcar..." is terrible), but an excellent film composer, and that is what he should be doing.

 
 
 Posted:   May 22, 2014 - 5:18 PM   
 By:   pp312   (Member)

Previn is an average conductor, average composer of concert music, but an excellent film composer, and that is what he should be doing.

I don't know how average Previn is as a conductor overall, but i always preferred his versions of the Vaughan Williams symphonies over all others--as a whole. I felt I understood the 8th and 9th much better after hearing his 60s/70s recordings, and that was after I'd listened to Boult many times.

 
 
 Posted:   May 22, 2014 - 8:03 PM   
 By:   rickO   (Member)

I always wondered: what constitutes a "great conductor" over a "mediocre conductor"? Previn always seems so precise and graceful with his stick technique. His communication style seems very polite if not exactly outgoing. Great post by the way.

-Rick O.

 
 
 Posted:   May 22, 2014 - 9:08 PM   
 By:   Preston Neal Jones   (Member)

A lot of great posts, I'd say, all around. I'm proud of you guys -- (and agree with many of you...)

 
 Posted:   May 22, 2014 - 10:29 PM   
 By:   SchiffyM   (Member)

My oldest friend is good friends with a major classical music critic (I won't name him, because it was a private conversation). This critic remarked that he wished Previn's classical compositions had half the vitality of his film scores.

I don't begrudge Previn's decision to leave scoring. His reasoning is irksome to fans like us, but if you're serious about music, I can certainly see how scoring terrible films at the bidding of tone-deaf directors and producers, only to have that music cut up and buried under sound effects, would feel unrewarding. In Previn's case, though, it seems that these limitations may have actually sparked his creativity.

 
 
 Posted:   May 22, 2014 - 10:39 PM   
 By:   Mike_H   (Member)

Just stumbled upon this new interview at KUSC:

http://www.kusc.org/blog/artsalive/blogentry.aspx?BlogEntryID=10667012

 
 
 Posted:   May 23, 2014 - 2:40 AM   
 By:   pp312   (Member)

My oldest friend is good friends with a major classical music critic (I won't name him, because it was a private conversation). This critic remarked that he wished Previn's classical compositions had half the vitality of his film scores.


I once read the same thing of Leonard Bernstein about the On the Waterfront suite. The critic wished his 'serious' compositions held half the musical interest and had half the punch of that one suite.

One thing I'll say for Miklos Rozsa. Though his concert hall compositions never quite matched the dynamism and exoticism of his film music, the demands of formalism never drained them of blood either. You only have to listen to the Piano Concerto, say, to be reasssured that Rozsa is always Rozsa.

 
 
 Posted:   May 23, 2014 - 3:45 AM   
 By:   Jasondrury3   (Member)

Andre Previn's finest 12 minutes.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y7VwusiUwpc

 
 Posted:   May 23, 2014 - 4:46 AM   
 By:   WILLIAMDMCCRUM   (Member)

I respect and understand Previn's position, but the guy has done so much damage to film music. Personally, he felt he had to turn his back totally on it. But he gave a lot of ammo to the classical music world who could hold him up as an example, "Previn was there, you see, and he says it's all crap."




Don't be hard on Andre. It's actually the opposite. There was a lot of zeitgeist affectation in the 1970s and he had to play to it. He's a master of negative psychology, as are all successful 'players' in the fame game.

He trod a fine line, and sometimes it's necessary to adopt professional persona. Actually, concert listeners are MORE likely to sample his film scores precisely BECAUSE he disses Hollywood. 'Oh, I can listen to PREVIN's scores safely, because he's made it clear he hates the genre...' is the pattern.

So his effect is the reverse of what you'd think. He gives credibility to the best film scoring by bothering to highlight it at all.

 
 
 Posted:   May 23, 2014 - 6:15 AM   
 By:   Rozsaphile   (Member)

I respect and understand Previn's position, but the guy has done so much damage to film music. . . . he gave a lot of ammo to the classical music world who could hold him up as an example, "Previn was there, you see, and he says it's all crap."

I don't think the naysayers ever needed much ammo. And Previn certainly didn't say it was all crap. His book had generous tributes to Korngold, Rozsa, and Herrmann. And, let's face it, a lot of Hollywood music was, and is, functional without being especially creative.

 
 
 Posted:   May 23, 2014 - 6:25 AM   
 By:   Smaug   (Member)

There is a greater number of viable pieces for orchestra from the last 60 years that comes from film rather than so-called classical music. You're right, the naysayers don't need ammo, but as a practical matter this is important because as long as that attitude persists among the power holders of the orchestra world, no one will be playing the music of Herrmann, Korngold, Rozsa, etc. It'll always be relegated to the "Pops" concerts or special events. Whereas in truth, someone like Bernard Herrmann is much more
Important than Pierre Boulez whose ilk has had a strangle hold on music during that time. Previn says he doesn't understand that brand of music...well then he should have been a louder voice in the battle while those guys were running people out of the concert halls.

 
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