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Pettersson: Violin Concerto No. 2 & Symphony No. 17 / Lindberg, Wallin, Norrkopings Symphony Orchestra


Release Date: 05/03/2019 
Label:  Bis   Catalog #: BIS-2290  
Composer:  Allan Pettersson
Performer:  Ulf Wallin
Conductor:  Christian Lindberg
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Norrköping Symphony Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

In terms of genre, Allan Pettersson was uniquely single-minded: during his entire career as a composer (1953–80) he produced only a dozen or so works that were not symphonies. By name, Violin Concerto No. 2 is one of these, but it is fair to say that it straddles the divide. Pettersson himself remarked: ‘In reality my work was a Symphony for violin and orchestra. From this results the fact that the solo violin is incorporated into the orchestra like any other instrument.’ It should therefore not come as a surprise that Christian Lindberg has chosen to include this massive 53-minute work in his acclaimed and award-winning series of Pettersson’s symphonies, realized in collaboration with the Norrköping Symphony Orchestra. The concerto Read more was written in 1977, 28 years after its predecessor, the Concerto for Violin and String Quartet (1949). In that work, written while Pettersson was still studying, the composer was experimenting with radical ideas that are not to be found in his later compositions. Concerto No. 2 is rather characterized by the central role given to one of Pettersson’s Barefoot Songs – a trait that appears in several other mature works. Throughout the score, the song ‘The Lord walks in the meadow’ provides motivic material but is also quoted extensively. The hugely challenging solo part was first performed by Ida Haendel in 1980, and is here taken up by Ulf Wallin, who with an extensive discography has already proved himself to be one of the most intrepid violinists of today.

The album closes with Pettersson’s last musical thoughts: a 207-bar long fragment generally regarded and referred to as a sketch for the composer’s Seventeenth Symphony. The fragment has been performed in public on one or two occasions, but it is only now that a wider public is given the opportunity to hear it. Read less

Works on This Recording

1.
Concerto for Violin no 2 by Allan Pettersson
Performer:  Ulf Wallin (Violin)
Conductor:  Christian Lindberg
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Norrköping Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1977; Sweden 
2.
Symphony no 17 (Fragment) by Allan Pettersson
Conductor:  Christian Lindberg
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Norrköping Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: Sweden 

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  1 Customer Review )
 Into the abyss May 15, 2019 By Dean Frey See All My Reviews "Allan Pettersson wrote his Second Violin Concerto just after he completed his 13th Symphony, in 1976. He referred to it as a Symphony for Violin and Orchestra, but this is no Symphonie Concertante, where a solo instrument shares its virtuosity with orchestral players. Rather, it's a more modern, searching expression of a classic tale: the individual vs. the collective. It's easy to imagine why the semi-invalid Pettersson, shut up in his apartment suffering from his acute, chronic rheumatoid arthritis, would explore the lone voice struggling to be heard over the powerful sound of the orchestra/universe. This is a work that's all about this balance, and since the premiere performance with Ida Haendel in Stockholm on January 25, 1980, there has been much controversy concerning this key point. Was Pettersson unaware of how the violin would sound against the powerful writing of his orchestral forces? Did he design the work to be heard over the radio (as he heard it from his apartment) or on a recording rather than live in a concert hall? Things went back and forth between the critics, until the composer weighed in: "The solo violin is eliminated as regards audibility – something that the composer has consciously chosen – by letting the soloist often play in unison with the leading parts. The composer lets the soloist fill in passages totally inaudibly within the orchestral mass." This, of course, is a challenge for today's recording producers and engineers: they're very good at allowing us to hear every detail in a score through technological means plus microphone choice and placement, as well as the choice of recording venue to find a proper acoustic to match the music. Luckily, in this case, we're dealing with BIS, whose default is rich and full rather than bright and exposed. And we have the Pettersson Dream Team in Christian Lindberg and the Norrköping Symphony Orchestra, who are completely at home in the music of the great composer, as they come to the end of their epic traversal of Allan Pettersson's complete works. Finally, the musicianship of violinist Ulf Wallin wins out, over, I might imagine, some of the more ego-driven soloists of this most ego-drenched instrument. In the end one hears the sad, even agonizing music as it was designed by Pettersson, and the touches of grace and redemption that occur, particularly toward the end, are all the sweeter for it. The short fragment that might have become the 17th Symphony does not break new ground, nor show the way to any major turns on their way from the composer's music written before. It's the last music Pettersson wrote, so one goes in with the same feeling as with the Lacrimosa from Mozart's Requiem or the unfinished final fugue in Bach's Art of the Fugue. Lindberg and his fine musicians give this often robust music a straight-forward, unsentimental reading, and they let the way it shuffles off at the end, into the silence, speak for itself. Let it echo in the silence for a while when you listen to it; this says as much about the abyss as whole symphonies." Report Abuse
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