Magazine article Gramophone

Pettersson: Symphony No 9

Magazine article Gramophone

Pettersson: Symphony No 9

Article excerpt


Symphony No 9

Norrkoping Symphony Orchestra / Christian Lindberg

BIS [F] [SACD] BIS2038 (70' * DDD/DSD)

This disc is a revelation. I have long been an admirer of Pettersson's music, particular the symphonies from the 1960s (Nos 5-8). The climax to this group is the largest of them all, No 9 (1969-70), shortly after the completion of which the composer was hospitalised for nine months with rheumatoid arthritis and kidney disease.

Pettersson's need to communicate had a ferocity unmatched by any composer since Beethoven, often expressed not just in the sustained intensity of his music but also in its use of large, unbroken spans. The Ninth runs, in the composer's own timing, to 65-70 minutes, with Lindberg and his only CD rival (Francis) falling at either end of this range. Lindberg's slightly broader tempi and shaping are spot-on, over 14 minutes faster than Commissiona's highly regarded premiere recording on LP (Philips--nla; not reissued on CD but available on YouTube). This remains a powerful interpretation but at 20 per cent over the maximum timing is arguably a misrepresentation of Pettersson's wishes. …

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