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CDW: Andre Previn

Remember back in 1991, when Kentucky Fried Chicken rebranded themselves as KFC? I'm doing something similar - - I'm rebranding Celebrity Death Watch as CDW.

Andre Previn, what an immensely talented guy. I'm going to highlight a few aspects of his multifaceted career:

COMPOSER AND SONGWRITER

My favorite song of his is the theme from *Valley of the Dolls.* It has lyrics by his then wife, Dory Previn. Andre left Dory for Mia Farrow, who had recently divorced Frank Sinatra. Dory may have had the last laugh: she wrote the song "Beware of Young Girls." And I think she might have chuckled a few times when Andre and Mia's adopted daughter Soon Yi took up with Farrow's partner Woody Allen.

Anyway, here's that marvelous song, sung by the one and only Dionne Warwick:

PIANIST

He did a lot of work as a jazz pianist and player of concertos, sometimes conducting the orchestra from the keyboard. Richard introduced me to an album he did with Dinah Shore, one of the most mellow, heavenly albums I've ever heard, cheekily titled *Dinah Sings, Andre Plays.* Here they are doing "I'll Be Seeing You." I'm sure the surprise key change at 1:27 was Previn's idea - - and the way he goes back to the home key, it's amazing.

CONDUCTOR

I had Kathleen Battle's and Previn's 1986 album of Mozart concert arias on tape back in the day and listened to it constantly on my Walkman. The first aria is "Vorrei, spiegarvi o Dio," one of the most sublime pieces of music ever. I've since grown a little weary of Battle and her cutesie poo manner, and in this aria I prefer Beverly Sills or Judith Blegen - - but Kathy was my first! And Previn gets such a delicious, satiny sound from the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.

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