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Customer Discussions > Classical Music forum

Allan Pettersson

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Showing 1-25 of 26 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Oct 23, 2012, 9:10:09 PM PDT
Pernickity says:
Any other Pettersson fans out there?

Symphony No. 7

Violin Concerto No. 2

Symphony No. 14

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 23, 2012, 9:50:00 PM PDT
Dmitri says:
I had all of Petterson's symphonies. I feel shallow in saying this, but they all seemed like different shades of gray. I like the 7th, because there was more than one copy of it available. I believe that there was one with Dorati and another with Comissiona plus one in the cycle that I right now can't recall the conductor.

Posted on Oct 24, 2012, 1:14:13 AM PDT
Pernickity says:

Posted on Oct 24, 2012, 5:08:49 AM PDT
MF says:

I have only recently discovered the symphonies of Pettersson and am very much drawn to their force and depth of utterance. At this stage, I have only established familiarity with his middle symphonies, primarily the 5th, 6th, 7th and 8th - sufficient to understand why these have attracted the most favourable comment. The 13th, perhaps the most formidable of his symphonies, also has its advocates. While I find the unrelenting qualities of his music invigorating, and have a strong sympathy with the idealism and sense of hard won reconciliation with life that is, at least in part, their inspiration, his work has prompted the thought that he might be considered to have sometimes through excess made vices of his virtues - but this suspicion might recede on closer acquaintance - as such suspicioons frequently do..

Posted on Oct 24, 2012, 6:29:14 AM PDT
scarecrow says:
It seems the middle Symphonies are like giant boulders that you cannot ever get past. . . . So here I remain, I listen to the Fifth, Seventh and Ninth. rarely the others. . . .

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 24, 2012, 2:29:55 PM PDT
Pernickity says:
You surprise me scarecrow seeing as you enjoy Schoenberg's Moses and Aron.

Posted on Oct 24, 2012, 4:33:30 PM PDT
scarecrow says:
I'm quite fond of the modern symphony, Valentin Silvestrov, the latter Hans Werner Henze, Giya Kancheli, Leif Segerstam, Wolfgang Rihm, William Schuman, Isang Yun, Robt. Simpson, Humphrey Searle, Peteris Vasks., Edouard Tubin,even Christopher Rouse. .

Posted on Oct 25, 2012, 1:19:10 AM PDT
Jim Ginn says:
I like Rouse better than Pettersson--it only takes him half as long to make one want to cut one's wrists.

Posted on Oct 25, 2012, 2:08:26 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Oct 25, 2012, 2:25:10 AM PDT
Pernickity says:
If I had to listen to Haydn for more than 5 mins I would cut my wrists.

Posted on Oct 25, 2012, 7:03:04 AM PDT
scarecrow says:
Pettersson's Fourteenth Symphony is quite intense, one movement work.. . . .
Yeah Rouse has learned how to get someplace in the shortest distance. things move faster in New England than in the rural areas of Sweden. . .although Pettersson was a recluse most of his life with an extreme case of debilitating arthritis . . .He dictated to a music copyist his latter symphonies. . .

Posted on Oct 25, 2012, 8:34:22 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Oct 26, 2012, 3:40:52 PM PDT
Allan Pettersson's symphonies are interesting at first , but they don't always end that way. In the longer single movement works, he repeats the same material endlessly, my ADHD kicks in, and my attention starts wandering. For example, the 6th Symphony opens with a slow introduction, then repeats one idea for a half hour, and then introduces a new idea which is repeated for another half hour. There is no more than 10 or 15 minutes of material, but it is padded out to over an hour. The material is interesting, but it goes on for way too long.

I prefer the symphonies with multiple movements. The music is in smaller chunks, and Pettersson doesn't repeat himself as much in a 10 minutes movement as he does in an hour long one movement symphony. With Pettersson, shorter is better.


In reply to an earlier post on Oct 25, 2012, 9:12:09 PM PDT
Pernickity says:
Maybe you would prefer Rossini.

Posted on Oct 25, 2012, 9:23:44 PM PDT
Anonymouse says:
I noticed something after I'd been listening to Pettersson for some time. I wonder how other Pettersson listeners will take it.

Seems to me that Pettersson's music is like anyone else's (anyone else being any fairly traditional symphonic composer) but without the topmost layer. Seems to me he gets most or even all of his effects by not having that top layer. Of course, a symphony is very much more complicated than a song, with a melodic line supported by accompaniment. But even symphonies are composed (as it were) of several layers, which are not all equally prominent. (Conductors often can get startling effects by bringing out voices or lines that have played subsidiary roles in their predecessors' performances.)

And if you've heard things that sound like themes or melodies or motifs that would ordinarily be thought of as "top layer" material, it's because you have. Even in symphonies with that top layer intact, there are echoes and reflections of that material in the secondary levels.

The thing that got me thinking this way, since Pettersson's sound (and logic) had fascinated but puzzled me for some time, was listening to Schubert's ninth one day after having not played it for many years. Suddenly I thought "Hey, take off the top layer of this, and you've got yourself a Petterson symphony!"

(That's of course not literally true, but it's what got this idea started.)

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 25, 2012, 10:07:21 PM PDT
My God, Anonymouse...for the first time in my life, I think I agree with you. The lack of having that top layer leaves one feel as if they are trying to find their point in space and time while in a fog. I like Pettersson in small doses, but I have always felt like his music has something worth going back for.


I sentence you to Haydn's 100th symphony.

Posted on Oct 25, 2012, 10:13:42 PM PDT
Anonymouse says:
"My God, Anonymouse...for the first time in my life, I think I agree with you."

Uh oh!!

Posted on Oct 25, 2012, 10:17:43 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Oct 25, 2012, 10:28:49 PM PDT
Pernickity says:
You can download the sheet music (PDF) of Pettersson's Symphony No. 7 here:

His music sounds even better with my new Sennheiser headphones.

Posted on Oct 25, 2012, 10:32:23 PM PDT
MF says:

Its an interesting idea. Certainly, Pettersson found a way of establishing a distinctive musical style. There seems little doubt that Pettersson sought to generate particular effects: relentlessness, cumulative tension, a kind of grinding, almost glacial dynamic - and the removal of the layer to which you refer accords well with these effects. It strikes me that Pettersson was concerned with what I might figuratively describe as the tectonic dimensions of human experience - and this too accords with your description.

Posted on Oct 26, 2012, 6:58:30 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Oct 26, 2012, 7:10:34 AM PDT
scarecrow says:
Yeah Anon, Adrian, Everyone. .
Pettersson creates incredible tension because the Symphonies are really very free,the Fourteenth really tests these grounds to the point of incoherent, well a controlled incoherency, again quite free,, ,
there is no means for the listener to predict where they/we are going, it's like you are on an anxiety-ridden raft on the ocean,and no one to help. . . you don't know what to do, so you keep going in some way;when something familiar does come, like high register violins long melos, that doesn't help either for What's next? then. . . I love the powerful brass. . .

the darkness-es are only alleviated by the music changes gesture register and place. . . you see when we have freedom,going round from melody to melody to register, we really don't like it, it feels dangerous and un-safe. . .

That's why we love Mozart, and Beethoven and Haydn, there we always know where we are, and where we are going, no mysteries. . .just comfort. . .the safe dyad. . .

Karl Amadeus Hartmann achieves similar musical dimensions as Pettersson, but his music is more oppressive, really less free coming out of Germany,the times he lived; with the darknesses of Spirit there;
there we have more canonic, fugal guides,also less free means of music)"follow-the leader" the fugue. . . and the tension always goes louder and upwards, an increase in density. . . well for the latter Symphonies Sixth, Seventh,Eighth. . .

For scores I've found the Inter-Library Loan very helpful, here Northwestern University Library has all the Pettersson Symphonies,so one can borrow, it takes about 2 weeks; I have only the score to the Seventh. . . .which I bought here. . .

Posted on Nov 8, 2012, 1:50:43 AM PST
[Deleted by the author on Nov 8, 2012, 2:19:16 PM PST]

Posted on Nov 8, 2012, 2:19:25 PM PST
[Deleted by the author on Nov 15, 2012, 2:01:33 PM PST]

Posted on Nov 8, 2012, 4:28:14 PM PST
Neaklaus says:
When it comes to music I have adopted the saying "I know what I like, and I like what I know". If you like what you hear enjoy it. Also never stop trying new works. I have discovered many pieces and composers this way. I am now going to try some Pettersson.

Posted on Nov 14, 2012, 5:21:12 PM PST
[Deleted by the author on Nov 15, 2012, 1:57:03 PM PST]

Posted on Nov 15, 2012, 10:28:04 AM PST
O. Rydland says:
Except that that particular battle ended well

Posted on Nov 21, 2012, 12:44:53 AM PST
[Deleted by the author on Nov 22, 2012, 12:46:58 AM PST]

Posted on Nov 22, 2012, 12:47:04 AM PST
Pernickity says:
Symphony No. 10 makes Mahler sound dull.
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Discussion in:  Classical Music forum
Participants:  10
Total posts:  26
Initial post:  Oct 23, 2012
Latest post:  Nov 25, 2012

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