Allan Pettersson

Category: Music

No Alan is not a jazz artist but a relatively unknown, at least in the US, contemporary classical composer, most famous for his symphonies. Born in Sweden and chronicly diabled with an auto immunine disease for most of his life.

His most celebrated sysmphony is the 7th, whose elements include brutally effective brass and sweetly expressed strings. The motifs are easy to recognize and are constantly repeated. It is in one movement and has an open clarity and pristine sense of perceptive glowing illumination. Pettersson's are very personal statements which are guided by his emotions. At least this symphony is worthy of a listen. The recording is on the BIS label(CD-580). The orchestra is the Norrkoping Symphony conducted by Leif Segerstam( a composer of note in the Nordic countries). The recording sparkles though the miking seems to favor the brass over all group of instruments. I cannot wait to hear his other symphonies as well.

Also, he wrote several chamber music pieces that were recorded. The first group of recordings are seven sonatas for two violins, performed by the Duo Gelland(Martin and Cecilia). the second group of recordings are one small piece for piano and three small pieces for violin and piano, the violinist was Martin and the pianist, Lennart Wallin. The second group of recordings, for a 20th century composer, are more melodious this side of Mozart and Schubert and as expressive as Brahms ever could be. However, The first group is as dissonance as you could ever want. Percussive and intensive, this music is at the limits of playability for the performing artist. What is perhaps interesting is that many of the motifs are used in his symphonies. Many are evident in the 7th. The recording, is perhaps one of the best recordings I now have. The soundstage and imaging of the recording are some of the best I have ever heard. Clarity and transparency are first rate. Sonics alone are worthy of a listen. Also this recording is on the BIS label (CD-1028).
Wonderful to see someone writing about Petterson. He is one of the great composers of this century, and exploring his music is a journey well worth undertaking. I came to his Sym 7 through a beautifully recorded LP by Antal Dorati and the StockholmPO (London CS 6740). I will have to find the new Segerstam recording to hear. Two other recordings worth exploring are in Petterson's Sym 2 (Westerberg with the SwedishRadioSO, LP on Swedish Society SLT 33219) and Concerto Number 1 for String Orchestra (Westerberg with the SwedishRadioSO, LP on Caprice CAP 1110).
Thanks to Tim Page then of WNYC-FM for exposing me to Allan Pettersson in the early eighties. When I first heard him play the seventh symphony I knew here was a composer who will eventually be seen as one the the twentieth century's greatest symphonists. Yes, on an equal footing with Mahler and Shostakovich.

Since then I've searched down practically every lp and cd of his music. I also thank Page for playing the music of Andrez Panufnik, a Polish expatriot, and another master of the modern symphony and chamber pieces. Both these men need to be played by American symphony orchestras.

I live in the NYC area and I've never seen a public performance of Pettersson. Anyway, it's great to know there are fellow Audiogoners who know of Pettersson's greatness.
Thank you Shubertmaniac for a great thread! I have had an opportunity to acquaint myself with Pettersson’s music while living in Sweden – otherwise he would remain unknown to me…
I love Allan Petterson as well. However his cds/lps are impossible to find here in the US :(
The German label "cpo" has recorded the entire Pettersson symphony cycle and is available here in the USA. The Swedish label "BIS" has a Pettersson project under way. I would think that you'd find these cds at a major record store in a big city. Also, you can try or