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Pettersson: Symphonies No 1 & 2 / Lindberg, Norrkoping Symphony

Pettersson / Nso / Lindberg
Release Date: 09/27/2011 
Label:  Bis   Catalog #: 1860  
Composer:  Allan Pettersson
Conductor:  Christian Lindberg
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Norrköping Symphony Orchestra
Number of Discs: 2 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 18 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Included on a separate DVD is an hour-long film by David Lindberg about Allan Pettersson’s First Symphony and the preparation of the score.

Most discussions of Allan Pettersson's music maintain that he only reaches the apogee of musical darkness and misery in his later symphonies, a reflection of his straitened economic circumstances and ill health. Untrue. He started at the apogee of musical darkness and misery and went downhill from there. Okay, I exaggerate, and don't get me wrong, I like Pettersson, at least most of the time. It's just sometimes hard to take the consistent gloom all that seriously. In fact, the Second Symphony actually has moments of bitter humor in the form of jerky march rhythms now and then,
Read more but otherwise it's 46 knee-slapping, fun-filled minutes of abject chromatic despair, punctuated by a moment or two of brief lyrical respite.

Sound enticing? Well, it is if you're a Pettersson fan, if only because the music is so sincere and determined that you have to respect it. Pettersson's later works, though even darker, are more convincingly structured, less patchwork, and his control of momentum makes them more emotionally gripping. But this piece could not be mistaken as the work of any other composer. It's pretty marvelously performed by Christian Lindberg and the Norrköping Symphony, which sounds absolutely terrific when some "historically informed" podium moron isn't telling the string

As for the First Symphony, left incomplete and here receiving a premiere recording in Lindberg's own performing version, what can I say? It sounds a bit like a lost half-hour of the Second Symphony. BIS also includes a thrilling DVD about the work and the preparation of the score. Is it the greatest Swedish film since Ingmar Bergman? Not exactly, but it's nice to have if you're a really, really, really hardcore Pettersson fan. A very fine release, then, but one for the converted; more timid souls should consider the Seventh or Eighth Symphonies on this same label.

--David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday.com
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Works on This Recording

1. Symphony no 2 by Allan Pettersson
Conductor:  Christian Lindberg
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Norrköping Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1953; Paris, France 
2. Symphony no 1 by Allan Pettersson
Conductor:  Christian Lindberg
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Norrköping Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1951 

Sound Samples

Symphony No. 1 (performance edition by C. Lindberg)
Symphony No. 2

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