From the start of his intermittent side career as a jazz pianist, esteemed conductor and composer Andre Previn has shown more feeling for the form than most classical artists who cross over. Going beyond a recreational involvement in improvised music, he has deepened his playing since skimming stylistic surfaces on his bestselling My Fair Lady album of nearly 50 years ago. Now 78, he gives us what may be his most satisfying jazz recording in Alone: Ballads for Solo Piano. The solo format allows him to reflect his debt to piano masters including Art Tatum, Erroll Garner, and Bud Powell in ways his work with trios and combos hasn't, while showing off his super-refined lyrical touch with its sophisticated sense of color.
Successful as pianist, composer, and especially as conductor, André Previn has frequently bridged the gap between popular and so-called "serious" music, and in doing so broadened the horizons of both. Despite his deep roots in symphonic music, long before his eventual retreat from his jazz work, Previn had become something of a popularizer of jazz rather than a serious practitioner of the music. At his best, however, his music reflected a strong indigenous feel for the jazz idiom.
One of the most versatile musicians on the planet, André Previn has amassed considerable credentials as a jazz pianist, despite carving out separate lives first as a Hollywood arranger and composer, and then as a world-class classical conductor, pianist, and composer. Always fluid, melodic, and swinging, with elements of Bud Powell, Oscar Peterson, and Horace Silver mixed with a faultless technique, Previn didn't change much over the decades but could always be counted upon for polished, reliable performances at the drop of a hat…
Andre Previn’s name has become synonymous with the work. In this, his latest version, the interpretation is more daringly expansive and slower to evolve than ever before - he takes nearly eight minutes longer than the more urgent Ashkenazy on Decca - but ultimately the conviction of the performance wins through. The playing is a delight -sample the clarinet solo in the long adagio, surely one of the loveliest tunes ever written, critics notwithstanding! With a generous ambience, natural balance, and 'bloom' so characteristic of Telarc productions, the recording perfectly complements the performance.
Peter Herring, Classical Music on Compact Disc
This, one of Tippett's earliest acknowledged works, is one of his most popular. The music relates the true story of a young German Jew who, terrified and enraged at the treatment of his mother, kills a Nazi officer and touches off a violent pogrom. Tippett adopts the structure of Bach's Passions, in which arias alternate with choruses and Lutheran hymns (chorales), although in place of the chorales Tippett substitutes magnificently moving Negro spirituals. "A Child of our Time" offers music of rage, poignancy, and deep compassion. As the title itself implies, it is both specific to a certain time and place, and universal as well. No lover of classical music can afford to ignore it.