Review: Previn delights at PSO premiere
By Mark Kanny
Published: Saturday, March 10, 2012,
The return of Andre Previn to Heinz Hall on Friday night was more than an exercise in nostalgia. He was Pittsburgh Symphony music director from 1976-84 and often has been back.
But there's no nostalgia attached to a world premiere, and the new Triple Concerto Previn brought with him was wonderful to encounter.
Previn, 82, has trouble walking and was assisted at the start of the concert by stagehand John Karapandi. He sat in an upholstered chair while conducting.
But once settled, his music making had familiar elegant, intelligent and witty contours starting in Joseph Haydn's Symphony No. 102.
Previn's new Triple Concerto for Horn, Trumpet, Tuba and Orchestra was commissioned by the Pittsburgh Symphony and performed by principal players William Caballero, George Vosburgh and Craig Knox.
The trumpet is the first solo instrument to play in all three movements, followed by the horn. Previn's writing demands the utmost virtuosity but, despite all its rhythmic energy, is often carried by singing qualities.
Vosburgh was the brilliant lead soloist, with a meaty lower register in which Previn often has him dwell, as well as a silvery top end. He phrased the second movement's main theme with exquisite control and sensitivity.
Previn wrote a great if sometimes wickedly challenging part for tuba. It's a real workout in range and tonguing. Knox's big tone in his upper register was beautifully suited to Previn's lyrical writing.
The horn part did not emerge strongly except at a handful of points, which may have been due to seating the soloists right in front of the conductor, rather than behind him at the front of the stage. Caballero played with his customary confidence, accuracy and variety of timbre.
The way Previn weaves the solo parts into a larger symphonic line reminds me that Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart called his orchestral work featuring solo violin and viola a "Sinfonia concertante." The range of emotions and moods Previn visits is quite different from Mozart, but the new concerto is one I look forward to hearing again.
A genial and knowing performance of Felix Mendelssohn's "Italian" Symphony completed the concert. Although earlier movements were broadly paced, the finale was fast and exciting.
This concert will be repeated at 2:30 p.m. Sunday at Heinz Hall, Downtown. Admission is $20 to $93. Details: 412-392-4900 or www.pittsburghsymphony.org .
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Pitt’s Donald sweeps Outland, Bednarik awards, named All-American
- Penguins notebook: Popularity with female fans brings test event to Consol
- LeBeau wants to return as Steelers defensive coordinator
- Westmoreland County rail, aviation grants total $3.1 million
- NFL notebook: Bears QB Cutler to return Sunday vs. Cleveland
- Feds to collect public comment on plan to permit cellphone service on airplanes
- High school roundup: Bethel Park edges USC in Section 4 opener
- Steelers safety Polamalu finds himself in tough position
- Plane crash kills Hawaii official in Obama’s ‘birther’ fuss
- 52 unsafe bus lines closed in federal crackdown
- Steelers notebook: Cutting down turnovers, sacks hasn’t led to victories