Pettersson: Symphonies, No. 7 and 11 Import
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Top Customer Reviews
Certainly the most well-known and most frequently performed of all of his symphonies, Pettersson's Seventh was dedicated to Antal Dorati, whose recording of it brought the world's attention to the reclusive composer. If the Sixth is a dark and desperate cry ending in resignation, the Seventh is the "song sung by the soul" that Pettersson sought so yearningly to reveal.
The symphony's origins are not clear. The work was premiered on October 13, 1968 in a concert for the Music for Youth series founded by Antal Dorati in cooperation with the Stockholm Philharmonic. Pettersson, in very poor health, was called to the podium with standing ovations four times after the work's conclusion. It was the last time he was able to personally attend a premiere of one of his symphonies. Some hear it as a "reconsideration" of the bleakness of the Sixth; others have compared its structure to the arch formed by the profile of a mountain range. Many members of the audience at the premier were in tears at the close of this remarkable work. Once again, Pettersson uses a roughly 40-minute single movement. Unlike earlier symphonies, this one is not as clearly divided into sections, but uses recurring themes throughout.
Leif Segerstam's recording with the Norrkoping Symphony Orchestra on BIS (CD-580) is the longest one at 46:17. Frankly, I prefer the kind of "punch" Segerstam uses to emphasize the lines, and the intensity of emotion is never in question.Read more ›
Pettersson is essentially a conservative tonal composer, but his tonality is stunningly overlain with passages of polytonality, just as his steady moderate tempi are overlain with quirky polyrhythms. Occasionally there are suggestions of twelve-tone composition, but don't let it worry you; you won't hear them as such unless you are trained in musical theory. What you will hear is a dense swirling texture of instruments and percussion, a soundscape mostly of shimmering beauty but occasionally shaken by bursts of unsettling tumult.
A composer of beautiful surfaces? A composer of anguished depths? Pettersson was a Swede, and perhaps because I'm another, I hear a lot of landscape in his music, the same sonic boreal forest and tundra that I hear in Sibelius, Rautavaara, Norgard, or Lindberg. What sounds dark and foreboding to other listeners, I suspect, sounds like over-the-snow-to-grandmother's-house to me, so largely I hear Pettersson's music as beautiful surface. Emotional response to music is very subjective.Read more ›
While there are a number of recordings of this work available, I bought this particular one based on reviewer Mark Shanks' recommendation. I was not at all disappointed with this recording. As usual, the BIS engineers do a superlative job. It's too bad, however, that this recording is not indexed into tracks at the various "turning points" in the score, as has been done on Alun Francis' recording of the Ninth on the cpo label. This would have allowed one to revisit places in the recording much more easily. But that is my only complaint.
The Eleventh symphony is an added bonus to this disc. Clocking in at only a little more than 20 minutes, it is perhaps the shortest of P's symphonies. It possesses a multi-faceted canonical structure. Beginning in a very mild-mannered way, beautifully lyrical and atonal, rather atmospheric and ethereal, slowly the work grows more menacing and uncontrolled, without losing its ethereal nature, until it eventually takes on sinister proportions, then slowly subsides.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Oh, goodness. Tragedy, angst and darkness are not uncommon topics for composers, but nothing prepares you for the soundworld of Allan Pettersson, and in particular his seventh... Read morePublished 22 months ago by G.D.
Pettersson's music has a very distinctive sound and can hardly be confused with that of any other composer. Read morePublished on October 27, 2012 by Pernickity
Out of the few recordings available for Pettersson's Seventh Symphony, this comes the closest to what is actually written in the score. Read morePublished on November 11, 2011 by Matthew Kumjian
My first thought upon hearing Allan Pettersson's Symphony No. 7 (1966-67) was "my goodness, this is grim and cheerless", as a laboriously played line on low brass reiterated again... Read morePublished on August 19, 2008 by Christopher Culver
Great to read comments from Mark, Dan, Daniel, Drew about this least known of the great 20 th century composers. Read morePublished on January 9, 2006 by paul best
If you own only one recording, this should be the one. Pettersson's seventh symphony is a haunting work that you just can't shake. Read morePublished on August 10, 2001 by Daniel Cormier