Premiered 1968 in Houston, Previn later withdrew this work and wrote another Cello Concerto (as he told me he would during a 1994 interview)…
… however, what is now the ‘first’ Cello Concerto made a big impression on me, and it still does at least four decades later, and in that same Radio 3 broadcast too (link below) – Julian Lloyd Webber with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra conducted by Christopher Adey, circa early-1970s. Apologies though to the composer for sharing music he became dissatisfied with.
This must have been recorded close to Chris Adey’s pioneering broadcasts of the Martinu symphony cycle. This was an eye/ear opening moment in my musical life and stands proud in letting the wider world know of this marvellous music a few decades before more recent attempts, all generally successful, that allow us to appreciate the musical genius evinced by Martinu In works that establish him as an important mid 20th century symphonist .
Previn was an excellent composer. John recorded a set of jazz-inflected piano pieces called The Invisible Drummer on his Continuum 2-CD set, Transatlantic Piano, recently reissued by Heritage, and Previn wrote a charming letter of thanks to John when he found this out.
Actually, the premiere was in 1967 and the soloist was Shirley Trepel, who was the HSO’s Principal Cellist. I own the tape of that performance and she was a far superior cellist to Webber. She was a pupil of both Feuermann and Piatigorsky at the Curtis Institute, becoming the latter’s teaching assistant after graduation in 1945. She married the great violinist Berl Senofsky that same year. In the early 1950s they both joined the Cleveland Orchestra with Berl as Associate Concertmaster, sitting with the legendary Josef Gingold. In the early 60s Trepel was hired by Steinberg as Associate Principal of the Pittsburgh Symphony. In 1963 she was invited by Sir John Barbirolli to become the Houston Symphony’s Principal and she stayed in that position until 1993. She lives now in the Los Angeles area and is 98 years of age!