Magazine article Musical Opinion

LSO/André Previn

Magazine article Musical Opinion

LSO/André Previn

Article excerpt

Barbican

A very warm welcome was afforded to André Previn when he made his first appearance at this attractively programmed LSO concert at the Barbican on January 16. At the close of the evening many in the authence offered a standing ovation to this versatile musician. On this occasion Previn conducted two of his signature pieces, Richard Strauss's Don Quixote and Ralph Vaughan Williams's Symphony No. 5 - in that order: to have reversed them would have been ruinous given the transporting nature of the symphony and this wonderful performance of it. Thus in the concert's first half Strauss's 'Fantastic Variations on a Theme of Knightly Character' (which Previn has recorded with the Vienna Philharmonic) was signified by affection, humanity and vividness, Previn seeing the work whole and ensuring clean balances and brightly etched timbres. If there was the occasional roughness of ensemble and the odd individual blooper, the performance glowed in sound and offered distinct characterisation as part of an unexaggerated and perceptive realisation. As the Don, cellist Tim Hugh gave an uneven contribution, under-projected at times (and muddled in his first solo statement) yet also dignified, certainly in death, and sensitively introspective when revealing the Don's musing. Edward Vanderspar's viola projected a vibrant Sancho Panza and the 'string trio' was completed by leader Roman Simovic, who is a notable addition to the LSO's list of principals.

Previn has recorded Vaughan Williams's Fifth Symphony three times (with the LSO, Royal Philharmonic and, most recently, in 1995, the Symphony Orchestra of the Curtis Institute of Music) He has also conducted the work far from its British shores, in Tokyo for example with the NHK Symphony. …

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