ALLAN PETTERSSON (1911-1980): Symphony No. 17 (fragment - first recording), Violin Concerto No. 2.

Catalogue Number: 05U010

Label: BIS

Reference: BIS-2290

Format: SACD hybrid

Price: $19.98

Description: This is much more than an addendum to this immensely valuable series. The 55 minute concerto is in effect a symphony in everything but name, and in fact the composer referred to it as such: “... my work was a Symphony for violin and orchestra ..." and " ... the concerto ˜should really be termed a symphony, otherwise people will not be able to appreciate the work in the right way." Certainly, the work's intensity, obsessive, unstoppable momentum, and drive are the equal of anything in the numbered canon of symphonies. If anything, there is a vehemence to this piece's early stages that is extreme even by Pettersson's standards. Following an unusual trajectory, the concerto increasingly transforms into a more lyrical, Romantic mood, with the violin taking more of a traditional role. The soloist, whose part must be among the greatest tests of stamina in the repertory, plays almost continuously, often competing with the full mass of the orchestra and required to carry the dramatic weight of an entire orchestral section. The fragment is substantial enough to be well worth listening to, and to be immensely frustrating. Although not explicitly described as such by the composer, the consensus of experts is that it was intended as a section of the 17th Symphony that was never to be. It could well be the opening of the work, beginning in media res with no preamble, and immediately developing the familiar thrust of Pettersson's symphonic argument. The notes don’t make clear whether what is played is exactly what the composer left or what degree of reconstruction was necessary; whether this is an assemblage of sketches that could individually have been expanded or whether the whole was intended to be played in some version of this form, but what we hear is unquestionably seven compelling minutes of ur-Pettersson that no enthusiast will want to be without. Ulf Wallin (violin), Norrköping Symphony Orchestra; Christian Lindberg.


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