Reviews and occasional notes on classical music

Reviews and occasional notes on classical music

"Music, both vocall and instrumental, so good, so delectable, so rare, so admirable, so super excellent, that it did even ravish and stupifie all those strangers that never heard the like." - Thomas Coryat, after hearing 3 hours of music at the Scuola di San Rocco in Venice, 1608.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Anguish, solace, beauty

Allan Pettersson's music comes from a place of pain and anguish - a hard childhood under a brute of a father and the lifelong burden of a chronic, debilitating disease - but it's also full of the solace and beauty which comes from the Northern landscape and from reserves within himself. With incredible discipline and strength of purpose Pettersson built an awesome symphonic legacy which rivals that of the great 20th century masters Nielsen, Sibelius, Shostakovich and Prokofiev. "No one in the 1950s noticed that I am always breaking up the structures," he said later in the decade, "that I was creating a whole new symphonic form." By the mid-1970s Pettersson was creating long, complex music in a style of his own that veered between the Sibelian model, atonality, serialism and neo-romanticism, with layers of meaning for those willing to make the effort.

This BIS release is part of The Allan Pettersson Project 2013-2018, a joint project with the Norrköping Symphony Orchestra and conductor Christian Lindberg that will create a complete cycle to go alongside those by Sergiu Comissiona and Alun Francis. This series is well on the way to establishing supremacy, due to Lindberg's command of Pettersson's underlying structures, his players' virtuosity and musicianship and the clear and lifelike sound provided by BIS.  This disc drops on March 3, 2017; it is very highly recommended.

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