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André Previn

Publisher: G. Schirmer

Double Concerto for Violin, Violoncello, and Orchestra (2014)
G Schirmer Inc
Soloists and Orchestra
Year Composed
20 Minutes
Solo Instrument(s)
vn, vc
Programme Note
André Previn Double Concerto for Violin, Violoncello, and Orchestra (2014)

The first movement—which opens with an expansive theme played by the soloists—is a whimsical concoction of invention and convention. Angular themes gave way to sweeping, grandiose melodies punctuated by striking, pungent harmonies. Quixotic rhythms and frequent tempo changes abound. Previn's gift for crafting beautiful melody was evident in the slow movement which featured soaring themes for strings, horns and winds and a heartfelt, contemplative statement for the soloists. The musical pastiche returned for the finale which was playful and witty with flashes of Hollywood a la Bernstein and Korngold. Brass and percussion assumed more aggressive roles as the soloists dialogued to bring the work to a close with a resounding chord.
Christine Facciolo, Newsworks,28/09/2016
an irresistibly songful slow movement.
Mark Swed, LA Times,02/06/2015
Sophisticated and well-crafted, Previn's new work…is a terrific addition to the double concerto repertoire. In three movements lasting about 20 minutes, the piece calls for large orchestra, with a full complement of brass, winds and percussion.

The distinguished musicians Laredo and Robinson have devoted their careers to promoting American composers. Previn also wrote his Piano Trio No. 2 for their trio with Joseph Kalichstein, which they performed earlier this month at Linton Music.

Previn clearly wrote to their strengths – Laredo's sweet, lyrical sound and Robinson's burnished tone and effortless technique. The concerto opened with a searingly romantic, wide-ranging theme played by each soloist (as in Brahms' Double Concerto). They carried on a lively dialogue, and the movement was continuously inventive, with striking rhythms and a few pungent harmonies.

There were also broadly lyrical moments, including a poignant return of the theme for the soloists, as well as a lovely oboe solo (Lon Bussell). Despite the substantial part for orchestra, its hallmark was clarity. It was almost neo-classical in texture.

The heart of the concerto was the slow movement, where Previn's gift for melody was on display. Here the soloists performed its romantic theme seamlessly, and with beauty of phrasing. The movement included a soaring melody for the strings and evocative writing for horns and winds. The finale was bright, syncopated and witty, and sometimes reminiscent of Bernstein. Laredo and Robinson brought it to a stirring conclusion with deeply expressive dialogue.
Janelle Gelfand, Cincinnati Enquirer,22/11/2014
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