This is Tony Palmer’s salute to Andre Previn. This film celebrating the composer-conductor’s life was made in the year leading up to the premier of Previn’s opera ‘A Streetcar Named Desire’ in San Francisco in 1998.
There is much archive film (but not the celebrated Morecombe and Wise sketch), and we witness Previn’s punishing worldwide schedule: in New York City, in Tokyo, with the Emerson Quartet in Cologne, and teaching at Tanglewood (one of the student being Daniel Harding). Previn is clearly a natural talent who can turn his hands in an instant from high-end composition to top-notch blue-note jazz. Previn here has much that is cogent to say about conducting. Moreover and in general he is here very down-to-earth, approachable, and surprisingly self-deprecating about his efforts. This is combined with a lack of pomposity or precocity about himself or his music. Although three-quarters of this film is concerned with the ‘Streetcar’ opera, the rehearsals and witnessing Previn’s methods are deeply fascinating. A great portrait for Andre's fans and jazz music lovers alike.
UK 2011 Tony Palmer 90m