Allan Pettersson: Symphony No 15; Viola Concerto

Allan Pettersson: Symphony No 15; Viola Concerto

BIS-2480 (BIS Records, SACD)

FIRST RELEASE (5 August 2022)

Playing time: 67'37"
Tracks: 18
Booklet pages: 37
℗ 2022 BIS Records AB
© 2022 BIS Records AB
Main country of recording: Sweden
Reviewer: Gerald Fenech
Review of Allan Pettersson: Symphony No 15; Viola Concerto published on 2 October 2022

Ellen Nisbeth, viola
Norrköping Symphony Orchestra
Jannika Gustafsson, leader
Christian Lindberg, conductor

Allan Pettersson (1911-1980):

Symphony No 15 (1978)
1 Beginning
2 Bar 116
3 Bar 235
4 Bar 281
5 Bar 367
6 Bar 434
7 Bar 543
8 Bar 629
9 Bar 696
10 Bar 748
11 Bar 855

12 Fantaisie for solo viola (1936)

Concerto for Viola and Orchestra (1979) (Solo part edited by Ellen Nisbeth)
13 Beginning
14 Bar 151
15 Bar 252
16 Bar 329
17 Bar 474
18 Bar 638

Allan Pettersson's Symphony No 15 is characterized by a high degree of tension right from the striking opening: brief, emphatic chords from horns and trombones above the tremolo of a side drum. Soon an expressive melodic subject is heard from the first violins, followed by contrasting rapid scales – at which point Pettersson has presented the greater part of the symphony's building blocks. Like so many of the composer's symphonies, the Fifteenth is in one movement, but with clearly defined sections. It was completed in 1978, two years before Pettersson's death, and was followed in 1979, by the sixteenth symphony, the last work that the composer submitted for performance. Only later did it become known that Pettersson had also been working on a Viola Concerto – a work that, if not fully completed, was so far advanced that it has been accepted as part of his œuvre. It is presented here by the Swedish violist Ellen Nisbeth, who also performs one of Pettersson's very earliest compositions – a Fantaisie pour alto seul, dated June 1936, when the composer himself was about to embark on a career as violist. On this the tenth disc in their acclaimed Pettersson cycle, the Norrköping Symphony Orchestra and Christian Lindberg bring their combined expertise to bear on the orchestral scores.

Recorded 13-17 January 2020 at the Louis de Geer Concert Hall, Norrköping, Sweden (Symphony, Viola Concerto) and 29 May 2020 at Petruskyrkan, Danderyd, Sweden (Fantaisie).