Christian Lindberg adds insight to Pettersson Symphony 15

Christian Lindberg and the Norrköping Symphony Orchestra have done Allen Pettersson a real service. Their traversal of his symphonies has helped give his music a wider audience. 

Lindberg understands the composer’s unique aesthetic. And the orchestral is by now well-experienced in performing Pettersson’s music.

This recording delivers some focussed, tensely energetic performances. And no wonder. This release features two works written when Pettersson knew his health was declining. There’s an urgency to these compositions that the ensemble effectively conveys.

Symphony No. 15 was Pettersson’s penultimate symphony. It was completed in 1978, two years before his death. The single-movement work is a model of efficiency. Pettersson crams a lot into this 36-minute work.

Despite its density, the symphony does have some salient features that make it easy to follow. Lindberg guides the orchestra (and the listener) through the work, bringing it to a satisfying conclusion. 

Also included is the Viola Concerto, one of the last works Pettersson completed. Or rather, completed enough to make a performing edition possible. Pettersson trained as a violist, and he fully explores the potential of the instrument. 

Ellen Nisbeth delivers a fine performance. This is music that requires stamina as well as skill. Nisbeth has both. Plus she has the ability to shape the work into a compelling musical statement.

Beautifully recorded, and well-performed. 

Allen Pettersson: Symphony No. 15
Viola Concerto
Ellen Nisbeth, viola;
Norrköping Symphony Orchestra; Christian Lindberg, conductor

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