Those who cling to the image of André Previn as a Wunderkind in a turtleneck may be gobsmacked to learn that April 6 marked his 80th birthday. In the course of a multifaceted career, Mr. Previn has distinguished himself as a symphonic conductor, a chamber musician, a jazz pianist, and a composer of symphonic and chamber music, opera, Broadway shows, concert song, popular American song, and Hollywood film scores. To mark this banner year, Mr. Previn has been involved in an exhausting international performance schedule….
Of his modus operandi as a composer, Mr. Previn asserts: “No notebooks or sketches. I just get to work on the first blank page. Even if I throw out the first week’s work, I’ve got to write something down. Once I’m over that hurdle, I write very quickly. It’s a habit that comes from my shabby Hollywood background,” he says with a chuckle, “writing scores under strict deadlines for MGM.”
Mr. Previn wrote his first soundtrack exactly half a century ago. It was for a distinctly minor picture, “The Sun Comes Up.” “Jeanette MacDonald, Lloyd Nolan and Lassie — go figure that billing. In any case, I was a kid at the time and just thrilled to see my name on that screen. After that, MGM knew I could handle their assignments, so I got an endless stream of cheap, fast movies. I like to think I’m writing better music than that now.”
Grew up during World War II
“I also grew up during the World War II years and can remember that families were issued food stamp rationing books allotted by the government to make food purchases. War stamps and war bonds were sold by the government at post offices and banks to help the war effort. Blackout drills were held throughout the war years. War bond rallies to help raise money were successful in helping to win the war. At these rallies, some movie stars would appear and I was fortunate to see Marlene Dietrich and Jeanette MacDonald, two well- known actresses at that time.”
Here is a great article from BroadwayWorld.com about the upcoming performance of “A Scandalous Affair” on April 19th. If you are going, or if you aren’t but just want to spread the word about the performance, be sure to add the link to this article on your Facebook or MySpace or whatever blog site you frequent. A splendid time is guaranteed for all!!