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Thread: Allan Pettersson

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    Senior Member Atrahasis's Avatar
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    Great composer and symphonist. There is something more in his work other than pain and anger... you need to listen more carefully
    “Music is enough for a lifetime, but a lifetime is not enough for music.”
    - Sergei Rachmaninoff

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    Speaking about Allan Pettersson I'm a beginner with his music. But thanks to the dedicated efforts of Christian Lindberg and Norrköping Symphony Orchestra I have started to understand his music. And it is good that BIS has decided to release all the discs as SACDs - although the first one which included Symphonies Nos. 1 & 2 was only a conventional CD.
    But I think we really need a new critical edition of these wonderful works. Those old handwritten study scores are horribly unclear.

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    Senior Member leonsm's Avatar
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    The next step from by Symphony no. 7 would be which other orchestral work? I really like this symphony.

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    I suggest 8, 10 (Dorati), and then 11 (Segerstam).

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    With all respect & gratitude to Christian Lindberg, Leif Segerstam, and other champions of the music of Allan Pettersson, I feel strongly that conductor Sergiu Comissiona’s recordings of Allan Pettersson’s symphonies are nonetheless essential listening to acquire a more complete understanding of the composer’s music & intentions:

    The following is an excerpt from, “A Romanian Rhapsody: The life of Conductor Sergiu Comissiona”, by Cecilia Burcescu:

    “A most rewarding experience for Sergui is his contact with Allan Pettersson, a composer unaffected by any school influence, empathetically bent towards the disinherited by fate and circumstances—the weak, the sick, the outcasts of society. A recluse, isolated from the world, first by choice, then by crippling arthritis, he has often been perceived through his music as pessimistic, though there is hope in it that ultimately enlightens the listener. He would compose at night, inspired by the noise of the street governed by outcasts swarming in the dark. Yet, with the sun, hope will arise, too, and this will be the aspect that Sergiu would enhance when conducting Pettersson’s pieces. As the composer becomes totally handicapped by illness, he perseveres in composing his 16 symphonies, although the last one that he is able to complete in his own hand is the Fifth. Sergiu manages to establish contact by correspondence with the recluse composer. Not able to speak English, Pettersson gratefully comments in French on Sergiu’s contribution to the most effective rendition of the composer’s musical intentions, “Vous m’avez donné ma vie.” (“You’ve brought me back to life!”) Though averse to public contact, he agrees to a visit from Sergiu, whose conducting of Pettersson’s Seventh Symphony—highly acclaimed by reviewers—has fulfilled the composer’s expectations.

    His satisfaction is as great regarding Sergiu’s rendition of Symphony No. 8, drawing the composer’s praise who, according to a program-note to the concert, “now allows the performance of his works by the Stockholm Philharmonic only if Comissiona is on the podium” (Irving Lowens, “Pettersson’s Symphony No. 8 Makes Bow in Baltimore”, Washington Star 1978). The composer expresses his gratitude in a letter addressed to the conductor on March 1, 1976:

    "Dear Maestro,

    Because of my life circumstances, I am unfortunately a little late with my correspondence, like right now, when your letter has reached me before mine reaches you (your letter, for which I thank you wholeheartedly, has moved me).

    Indeed, your interpretation of my Eighth was absolutely identical with the way I felt and thought when writing the piece. For an interpretation, there are, of course, several alternatives—for instance, the conductor can sit on his stool and watch somehow ‘von oben’ (translated ‘from above’) what may sound almost perfect, and yet, there might still be something missing. But you have abandoned your chair and have mingled with the musicians and have won their hearts and they played exactly the way you wanted and you could deliver ‘the message’ to the audience (after the concert in Stockholm, I received letters from audience members, with comments like: “Maestro Comissiona has captured our spirit ‘[‘… han toq andan ur oss!’]… ‘a great event, very rare…. “ etc.) Yes! Indeed! The expressiveness, the sensitiveness, the artistic sincerity—everything that is needed to “reveal” a piece to the audience. One can say that my Eighth Symphony had its true baptism on December 3rd and 4th, 1975 (without my being disrespectful to the other conductors), owing to you first, of course, and the Goteborgs Symfoniker.

    Now, I anticipate with great joy (one needs joy—for one’s mental hygiene!) the concert with my Symphony No. 9 under your baton, at the Stockholm Opera. Who can give it a better interpretation than yours? You and only you, if at all possible, since your interpretation is already a fait accompli, a model for all!

    I want to thank you, Maestro, for your willingness to follow me in the spheres of the spirit, spheres that are, nevertheless, common to all, I hope; yet a good guide is necessary for the others—the audience—and you have definitely been that good guide.

    With my thanks and best regards,
    devotedly yours,

    Allan Pettersson

    (French manuscript translation)"

    Subsequently, he [Pettersson] expresses the desire that his latest work, Concerto for Viola and Orchestra, be “by all means, conducted by Comissiona”, on its world premiere with the Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra. Sadly, it is also his last piece.

    Sergiu is deeply touched by the death at 66 of the gifted composer who, though having started to compose only at 39, had had the strength to overcome crippling pain and to prove amazingly prolific during the last half of his tormented life. Though isolated from society, he had still been deeply concerned regarding the lack of popularization of Swedish composers. The concern had inspired him to suggest to the then very popular band ABBA to donate 1% of their profits for recordings of Swedish symphonic music, an initiative that was readily embraced by the band.

    As a homage to the composer and as due acknowledgment of his remarkable work, Sergiu will introduce several of Pettersson’s compositions, such as Symphony No. 7—consisting of just one movement and lasting 1 hour and 40 minutes—and Symphony No. 8—a gigantic fresco in two somber movements—to audiences in New York, Baltimore, Houston, Amsterdam. In 1977, he will also conduct the world premiere of Pettersson’s Symphony No. 9, 
Dedicated to Maestro Comissiona” by the composer, a symphony that he will also record later, with the Gothenburg Symphony for the Philips label.”

    Haydn House offers both CD & mp3 versions of Comissiona’s LP recordings of Pettersson’s Symphonies No. 8 (with the Baltimore S.O.), No. 9 (with the Gothenburg S.O.), and No. 14 (with the Stockholm Philharmonic)—variously coupled with Antal Dorati’s recording of Symphony No. 10, Okko Kamu’s recording of Symphony No. 6, and Yuri Ahronovitch’s Symphony No. 16. They also offer Dorati’s recording of Symphony No. 7 as well (though inexplicably Dorati omits the brass in a middle section of the symphony, which isn't in accordance with Pettersson's score):

    http://www.haydnhouse.com/hh20.htm

    Sergui Comissiona & the Swedish R.S.O.’s moving performance 7th can be heard on You Tube:

    Here’s a clip of the full symphony:



    And, an excerpt from the concert film which contains the last 30 minutes of the 7th, and IMO, has better sound than the full clip above:



    Symphony No. 9, performed by Comissiona and the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra:



    Symphony No. 8, performed by Comissiona and the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra:



    Symphony No. 14, performed by Comissiona and the Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra:



    Here is Comissiona’s 1979 world premiere recording of Pettersson’s Viola Concerto, with violist Yuri Bashmet and the Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra (I would also recommend hearing violist Nobuko Imai's recording on BIS):

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tlp63EC1TH4

    Finally, here is the world premiere recording of Pettersson’s Violin Concerto No. 2, with violinist Ida Haendel and the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Herbert Blomstedt (I would also recommend hearing violinist Isabelle van Keulen’s recording on BIS):

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fJeu5xL_sE4
    Last edited by Josquin13; Dec-29-2017 at 18:48.

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    Senior Member leonsm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rw181383 View Post
    I suggest 8, 10 (Dorati), and then 11 (Segerstam).
    I jumped to his 6 (Trojahn/CPO) and not regret, it's an amazing work, as good as the 7. I'll listen to the 8 (Albrecht/Orfeo).

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    So here is the Pettersson page, which I will look over tomorrow. I will try to add some interest and keep this page alive.
    For me, Pettersson is the Voice of THIS Zeitgeist. Moreso than say Schnittke, much moreso.

    I guess you could go over to my many commenst scattered on amazon cd reviews, which really amount to nothing more than some thoughts on Pettersson's importance and has little to do with musical structure commentary or performance analysis.

    Ck out the CPO releases , you will see my comments there.

    I am most assuredly a …
    Petterssonian,,,for life, til death.

    As his music speaks to my spirit in the most profoundest levels.
    Paul
    The Petterssonian
    new Orleans

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    Senior Member Larkenfield's Avatar
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    Christian Lindberg briefly discussing Allan Pettersson (after an intro to other works):



    qq
    Last edited by Larkenfield; Apr-28-2019 at 02:45.
    "That's all Folks!"

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    Great find, must have JUST been posted, myself and another friend , who is like myself and may join the chat forum soon, have missed the 1st VID/interview with Lindberg.
    UNREAL, ,,,Just unreal.
    I have so much to comment on that 4 minute YT vid,,it could very well be my mammoth post, will set a record. You think my others went on too long winded,,,Just wait til I find time.,,,may have to make it a 2 or 3 part series of posts, based just on that 4 minute clip...

    If you add up all my comments on amazon, YT past 10 yrs, plus the many posts here,,,I might have someone gather all the threads together and make a book form.
    I can not write any history book, book on Plato, Nietzsche, Jung, , as everything that needs be said, has been written. The only subject I could makea good book of, is Allan Pettersson. But it would have to be a collaboration, as I am not at all scholarly, nor erudite. What I lack in rhetorical polish N punch, , I make up for with flare, fancy, color. Ideas you can hang a hat on.
    Last edited by paulbest; Apr-28-2019 at 18:54.

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    Senior Member Larkenfield's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by paulbest View Post
    Great find, must have JUST been posted, myself and another friend , who is like myself and may join the chat forum soon, have missed the 1st VID/interview with Lindberg.
    UNREAL, ,,,Just unreal.
    I have so much to comment on that 4 minute YT vid,,it could very well be my mammoth post, will set a record. You think my others went on too long winded,,,Just wait til I find time.,,,may have to make it a 2 or 3 part series of posts, based just on that 4 minute clip...

    If you add up all my comments on amazon, YT past 10 yrs, plus the many posts here,,,I might have someone gather all the threads together and make a book form.
    I can not write any history book, book on Plato, Nietzsche, Jung, , as everything that needs be said, has been written. The only subject I could makea good book of, is Allan Pettersson. But it would have to be a collaboration, as I am not at all scholarly, nor erudite. What I lack in rhetorical polish N punch, , I make up for with flare, fancy, color. Ideas you can hang a hat on.
    Glad you enjoyed it, Paul. When I have time, I may post my reactions to this performance of the 7th. Pettersson is quite an outstanding orchestrator and I believe that he’s tuned into a sometimes terrified reality the most people never experience.
    Last edited by Larkenfield; Apr-28-2019 at 23:56.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Larkenfield View Post
    Glad you enjoyed it, Paul. When I have time, I may post my reactions to this performance of the 7th. Pettersson is quite an outstanding orchestrator and I believe that he’s tuned into a sometimes terrified reality the most people never experience.

    Pettersson's bio reads like a martyr for a cause.
    I can not say too much , as others have described in words far better than I, events surrounding his life.

    I have stated my feelings often on amazon/YT , things I could not say here on TC.

    I have , perhaps 5 recordings of the 7th.
    The 7th receives so so much attention. I guess for good reasons, but honestly I can not place his 7th as a work separate from the 6th, and 8th.
    In fact as I have shared often all over Amazon./YT the Pettersson syms, are somehow organically connected , so his cycle is one symphonic poem, each sym as a movement in the grand scale of things.
    Others have felt this is a possible way of hearing the symphonies. So when I hear *I like AP's 7th*,,I think, but what about the 6th, 8th.
    Its like the Mahler crowd, with topics to discuss such as *which single movement in any Mahler sym is your fav,,,* Or which Mahler sym is your fav/*.
    With AP, all symphonies 4-15 , all carry equal sense of importance within the grand opus. One is not any more significant that any other, Sure I am completely aware it is the *SEVENTH* which is the most famous, most well known, most easily accessible. For this reason if asked, I say, no the 7th is not my fav, I have no favs.
    They do not understand, as every has a fav in Mozart, Beethoven , Mahler , Shostakovich etc.
    I love all equally,,, well honestly some have more affects on me that others, but not by much. each bears a deep affect on me.

    Anyway, more to discuss later.

    Here is the link to 2 other 7ths, , I have both, I am waiting on you and others to comment on the 7th/Lindberg and others. As I say I have no musical EDU and so can not dissect recordings as you guys can.
    I can only hear any recordings that might be a anomaly , either on the hitting the mark, or missing the ideal tempos/textures of the work.

    In Pettersson , I've yet to come across any record that has failed to present the power and scope of the work.
    The above vid explains how the Norrpoking has done its homework and made a dedication, commitment to Pettersson's symphonies.

    it is clear from the BIS cycle, the cycle is a great success.
    Which is not usually the case in grand cycle recordings. Read the Mahler topics,,every Mahlerian has this conductor in this sym , another in that sym. No one is ever satisfied in just 1 box set.

    More on that subject later,,,,,

    http://search.store.yahoo.net/yhst-5...m/cd88391.html

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    Here is a YT performance of the 7th, recorded in Berwald Hall, Sweden, Dec 1, 2017, with the young great british conductor who has tremendous promise, which are already shown fulfillment in this Pettersson 7th. Well on his way to become as great as those of the past, Water, Bohn, Furtwangler , , Keilberth, Boulez, Segerstam, and Mravinsky, I also wish to mention Neeme Jarvi and Christian Lindberg.
    without further adieu , here is Daniel Harding leading the great great Swedish RADIO Sym Orch (not sure why it is, but nearly every time radio orchestras are superior to main stream orchestras).
    In a Dec 1, 2017 performance.

    Upon hearing, you will understand my comment about Radio orchestras superior to mainline orchestras.


    Now w/o further adieu,

    Lets get on with the concert


    for some reason, upload takes you to late in the concert, please excuse and rewind to start. Enjoy
    Last edited by paulbest; Apr-29-2019 at 03:46.

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    Senior Member Larkenfield's Avatar
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    Hard to imagine a better performance of the Seventh than by Daniel Harding and the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra. Outstanding! More real than real. There’s a tender serenity in this work, but I also find the beginning full of ghosts and apparitions that Pettersson sounds terrified of, being victimized by, and then at times there are the shrieks from the high strings. I’m not exactly sure if he’s saying “Watch out!” to his listeners, or his music is cathartic and exorcising the demons. But it’s a fascinating combination of forces and elements playing against and off each other. Rather hypnotizing because he believes every note that he writes without seeming to have any critical distance toward whatever he’s experiencing. A brave man. I plan on hearing the other symphonies and deciding whether for me this is the greatest cycle of symphonies since Mahler or Shostakovich. I’m gonna go to No. 1 next and take the rest in order to hear what happens. I hear a number of different influences in his music but there’s also something that’s brave and original too. I like that he uses the full range of the orchestra like Mahler and Shostakovich and he’s such an outstanding orchestrator.
    Last edited by Larkenfield; Apr-29-2019 at 05:47.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Larkenfield View Post
    Hard to imagine a better performance of the Seventh than by Daniel Harding and the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra. Outstanding! More real than real. There’s a tender serenity in this work, but I also find the beginning full of ghosts and apparitions that Pettersson sounds terrified of, being victimized by, and then at times there are the shrieks from the high strings. I’m not exactly sure if he’s saying “Watch out!” to his listeners, or his music is cathartic and exorcising the demons. But it’s a fascinating combination of forces and elements playing against and off each other. Rather hypnotizing because he believes every note that he writes without seeming to have any critical distance toward whatever he’s experiencing. A brave man. I plan on hearing the other symphonies and deciding whether for me this is the greatest cycle of symphonies since Mahler or Shostakovich. I’m gonna go to No. 1 next and take the rest in order to hear what happens. I hear a number of different influences in his music but there’s also something that’s brave and original too. I like that he uses the full range of the orchestra like Mahler and Shostakovich and he’s such an outstanding orchestrator.
    Last week I purchased this secondhand Pettersson collection, am now slowly getting into it
    pett.jpg

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  26. #75
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    Quote Originally Posted by Larkenfield View Post
    Hard to imagine a better performance of the Seventh than by Daniel Harding and the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra. Outstanding! More real than real. There’s a tender serenity in this work, but I also find the beginning full of ghosts and apparitions that Pettersson sounds terrified of, being victimized by, and then at times there are the shrieks from the high strings. I’m not exactly sure if he’s saying “Watch out!” to his listeners, or his music is cathartic and exorcising the demons. But it’s a fascinating combination of forces and elements playing against and off each other. Rather hypnotizing because he believes every note that he writes without seeming to have any critical distance toward whatever he’s experiencing. A brave man. I plan on hearing the other symphonies and deciding whether for me this is the greatest cycle of symphonies since Mahler or Shostakovich. I’m gonna go to No. 1 next and take the rest in order to hear what happens. I hear a number of different influences in his music but there’s also something that’s brave and original too. I like that he uses the full range of the orchestra like Mahler and Shostakovich and he’s such an outstanding orchestrator.

    Then your reaction to Harding/Swedish RADIO forces are exactly like mine, tight, yet the canvas has bold colors and textures, not stiff, nor mechanical
    I wonder how many orchestra members had known the score part, previous played the 7th in their life, so Maestro Harding already had something to work with.

    Looking forward , very much so, to your experiential insights into the entire cycle. My feelings is that the 4th is the prologue, the prelude of the symphonic cycle so to speak, And in the 5th things really get going.
    Perhaps you may find the 3rd or even the 2nd as qualifying as the prelude sym.
    It was way back in 2001, or 2002, a CMGer on the *what R U listening to* mentioned the AP 2nd sym he used one word in his comment that struck chord , and my eras perked, He said the 2nd was *harrowing*….hummm, I thought,,,I like things that are harrowing, , Ordered several, the 7th of course,,and It was a revelation. Almost immediately all my Sibelius collection began to collect dust. Things changed inside me. End of one phase, with new beginnings.

    Every day that goes by, there are others who are experiencing Pettersson's music, New fans are being brought in daily, now.
    Its only a matter of time.

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