Music for Wind Orchestra: Program Note

André George Previn – Born April 6, 1929 in Berlin, Germany

The Hodgson Wind Ensemble is honored to premiere André Previn’s first work for the wind band medium this evening, Music for Wind Orchestra (No Strings Attached). Regarded as one of the most versatile living musicians today, Previn has won four Academy Awards for his film music and ten Grammy Awards for his recordings. He has toured the world as a jazz pianist, served as the music director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic and other world renowned orchestras, recorded hundreds of orchestral and solo piano works, and was subject of the Public Broadcasting Service musical documentary series by television, “Previn and the Pittsburgh”.

Previn was born in Berlin nine years before World War II. When he was ten, his family fled Nazi Germany and moved to Los Angeles. His great-uncle, Charles Previn, was music director of Universal Studios in Beverly Hills. After graduating from high school in 1948, Previn arranged and composed Hollywood film scores. Some of his most famous scores include “Elmer Gantry” (1960), “Long Day’s Journey Into Night” (1962), and “The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse” and “Dead Ringer” (1964), He studied conducting from Pierre Monteux, and began to tour and record as a jazz and classical pianist. His first major conducting position was with the Houston Symphony Orchestra in 1967 at the age of 38. He began his tenure as principal conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra the year after, and later joined the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. In 1985 he became music director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic.

Regarding André Previn, famous American jazz trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie described his best musical quality: “He has the flow, you know, which a lot of guys don’t have and won’t ever get. […] A lot of guys, they have the technique, the harmonic sense. They’ve got the perfect coordination. And, yeah, all that’s necessary. But you need something more, you know? Even if you only make an oooooooo, like that, you got to have the flow.” Although Dizzy was discussing Previn’s virtuosic piano abilities, the musical concept of flow is also quite evident in Previn’s Music for Wind Orchestra (No Strings Attached).

The piece is in three contrasting movements (fast-slow-fast) and is undeniably a significant contribution to the wind band medium. When urged for a few words about the music, Previn’s publisher wrote, “André pretty much loathes program notes.”

We shall have to let the music speak for itself.

Program Note by Tyler Ehrlich


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