With this superlative 1999 recording by violinist Isabelle van Keulen with the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra under Thomas Dausgaard, the Swedish modernist Allan Pettersson's late Second Violin Concerto receives its first digital recording. The only previous recording on Capriccio from 1980 had been performed by the forces that gave the work its premiere early that year, violinist Ida Haendel with the Swedish Radio Symphony under Herbert Blomstedt, and it stood inviolate for almost 20 years until the arrival of this disc.
Andreas K. W. Meyer’s notes provide a timeline for the life of Allan Petterson (1911–1980), “orchestra violinist, composer, oddball.” In any event, he cast his Second Violin Concerto in one, almost hour-long, movement (the recording has been divided into 10 tracks for those who might want to study specific sections). Its elfin opening, with swirling tonal parts in the upper registers surrounding the stratospheric solo, provides little preparation for the dense textures to come. If these seem to lack transparency, listeners should be aware that van Keulen and Dausgaard play the Concerto in a “revised version,” in which the composer supposedly significantly lightened the original.
I must admit that before I began this survey, I had never listened to this piece. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I was anticipating that it would be recognizably Petterssonian from the outset, perhaps strident string writing reminiscent of the string orchestra concertos, accompanying a choir (which is struggling to be heard above the tumult). The first time I heard the opening two movements I double-checked to make sure that I was actually listening to Pettersson and not Rosenberg, the other composer on this disc. Although in some of the later movements it is clear that we are listening to Pettersson……allanpettersson100.blogspot
Allan Pettersson (1911-1980) is one of the main influences in the music of Leif Segerstam, so it makes perfect sense for Segerstam to conduct Petterrson's symphonies. Pettersson was able, in his early symphonies, to maintain at once a sense of thematic drive as well as a dark presentiment of atonal forces. Tricky, but both Pettersson and Segerstam–in his own symphonies–pull it off. The Symphony 7 (1968) contains rough moods, dark clouds, with …..Paul Cook @ Amazon.com
This disk contains two important works from Pettersson's early and late periods. Although the middle symphonies (Fifth through Ninth) are widely considered his greatest, this disk shows that Pettersson possessed the rare gift of musical genius throughout his whole career as a composer. Both the Third and the Fifteenth also show the manner by which his works fell into that dark and obscure world for which they were destined: The Third, dating from 1955, was ignored by the Stockholm Concert Society for about four years ……..Daniel R. Greenfield @ Amazon.com