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André Previn

Publisher: G. Schirmer

Violin Concerto (“Anne-Sophie”) (2001),
G Schirmer Inc
Soloists and Orchestra
Year Composed
38 Minutes
Solo Instrument(s)
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Programme Note
André Previn Violin Concerto (“Anne-Sophie”) (2001),
Composer Note:

The first movement is by far the most lush. The second movement starts with the cadenza, and it is the most barren. 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 voglein war" ("If I were a bird, I would fly to you . . ."). Above the third movement I have put a quote from "Little Gidding" in 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."

I like that – it's just about right.

—André Previn

  • Ensemble
    Boston Symphony Orchestra
    Anne-Sophie Mutter (Violin)
    André Previn
    Deutsche Grammophon:
Melodically attractive and ravishingly scored, the concerto’s musical argument is perhaps rather discursive, but it communicates a compelling depth of expression, particularly in the slow movement.
Christian Hoskins,,13/06/2015
Previn's new VIOLIN CONCERTO is proportioned into three movements. The concerto's unconventional structure and raw element of pain demand more of the listener than its accessible idiom might initially suggest. Movement I is lush, sensuous, fresh romanticism. II, an elegy, is somber, mysterious, and more sparsely scored with an elaborate solo part. III is a set of wide-ranging variations on a children's song [that] incorporates virtuosity and contrasts of mood, counterpoising nostalgia and heartrending grief.
Mark L. Lehman, American Record Guide,01/01/0001
Previn's 40-minute VIOLIN CONCERTO is a three-movement, symphonic masterwork (yes, it really is that good) opening with an unashamedly romantic Moderato of Korngold-like opulence and intensity (with a bit of Prokofiev thrown in for good measure), moving through a more introspective central Cadenza, and climaxing in a theme and variations on the German children's song "Wenn ich ein Vöglein war" ("If I were a bird"). Recorded live with the Boston Symphony, the results could hardly be more "authentic," but even allowing for the special sense of occasion and obvious rapport between the two major protagonists, there is an electrifying imperativeness about this playing that is riveting.
Julian Haylock, International Record Review,01/01/0001
André Previn's VIOLIN CONCERTO is a three-dimensional self-portrait of Previn himself - lacking only the strand of jazz. The first movement brings us the Hollywood of Previn's youth, ripely romantic... The second-movement looks out on a bleaker terrain [with] suggestions of Shostakovich and Stravinsky. The last movement is a set of variations on a German children's song Previn remembers from his childhood in Berlin. This is perhaps the most intimate and self-revelatory music Previn has yet written, with a note of sweet, sad wistfulness that seems intrinsic to his character and to his music-making. [There is] experience and sheer know-how that went into this piece. The solo calls for a complete virtuoso, but is it not about virtuosity; there is something very inward, and indrawing, about the whole work...Previn has received countless standing ovations as a performer; last night he richly earned one as a composer.
Richard Dyer, The Boston Globe,01/01/0001
Previn's new VIOLIN CONCERTO pays tribute to his relationship with Anne-Sophie Mutter and looks back nostalgically through his life. The work [uses] alternating soaring lyricism and brisk rhythmic passagework, [along with] cinematic drama and sweep in its harmonic and orchestral lushness. The second movement is abrasive and moody, with angular interjections reminiscent of Bartók's concerto and somber musings recalling Shostakovich's. Previn's concerto appears violinistic in conception and it requires both a substantial technique, which Mutter, of course, possesses and a strong lyrical bent. The engineers in this live performance have captured her within an orchestral web that they've delineated with crystal clarity. For [a] commanding performance, Mutter and Previn's creative partnership on this recording deserves a very strong recommendation.
Robert Maxham, Fanfare,01/01/0001
Melodically attractive and ravishingly communicates a compelling depth of expression...
Christian Hoskins , Music OHM,01/01/0001
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