Notes and Editorial Reviews
Slowly and steadily, BIS continues its advocacy of the works of Swedish compatriot Allan Pettersson, a labor of love if ever there were one, since lovable this music certainly is not. The Third String Concerto is a huge work, with two ample quickish movements surrounding a monstrous, 25-minute-long central slow one simply marked "Mesto" (sad). Aside from its length, the music, whether ostensibly quick or slow, largely consists of static ruminations punctuated by abrupt, dissonant outbursts, and the lack of sustained music in quick tempos magnifies the listener's perception of the music's length indefinitely.
You might not find this a recipe for success, but the curious thing is that this awkward piece is much more
successful, and more emotionally affecting, than the first two string concertos. Although much shorter, those seem little more than experiments when compared to this piece, in which the mature Pettersson is clearly operating. Despite the angularity of much of the writing, there is also melody, often clearly tonal and quite beautiful, and it always seems to crop up just when the music needs it most. Of course there's no effort to be ingratiating: all of Pettersson's music is heavy-duty stuff--but you won't feel as though he is being gratuitously gnarly, or that your time is being wasted by the merely miserable.
This performance also is much more successful than the competition (on CPO), being better played by the strings of the Nordic Chamber Orchestra, and is considerably quicker in the first two movements. This gives them greater coherence as well as tension--crucial qualities, as I'm sure you will agree, if you're intrepid enough to take the plunge. As usual, the BIS sonics are excellent as well. If you're in the market for this music, this is the recording you will need to own.
--David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday.com
Works on This Recording
Concerto for Strings no 3 by Allan Pettersson
Nordic Chamber Orchestra
Period: 20th Century
Written: 1956-1957; Sweden
Concerto No. 3 for String Orchestra: I. Allegro con moto
Concerto No. 3 for String Orchestra: II. Mesto
Concerto No. 3 for String Orchestra: III. Allegro con moto
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