Christian Lindberg / Norrköping Symphony Orchestra

Allan Pettersson: Symphony No. 9

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Despite its imposing length, Allan Pettersson's Symphony No. 9 is an intensely concentrated work, built on a simple chromatic scale heard at the beginnning, and developed into 70 minutes of astonishing contrapuntal activity and fertile regeneration. While tonal in a technical sense, this symphony is harmonically complicated and frequently dissonant, so listeners should expect a challenge to their sense of key and form, notwithstanding the oddly serene resolution of the piece in F major. Even more important are the listener's resilience and sitzfleisch, because this long single-movement work is a bracing experience, with much of the music flying by at breathtaking speed and with fierce, persistant energy. Christian Lindberg and the Norrköping Symphony Orchestra demonstrate their ability to play with exacting precision and virtuosic brilliance, and it's an extraordinary display of cohesion, because the ensemble moves unnervingly as a single entity. The hybrid SACD is packaged with a DVD of a documentary on Pettersson, "Människans röst" ("Vox humana"), made for Swedish televion with English subtitles.

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