Christian Lindberg / Nordic Chamber Orchestra

Allan Pettersson: Concerto No. 3 for String Orchestra

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This recording of Allan Pettersson's Third Concerto for string orchestra, featuring Christian Lindberg and the Nordic Chamber Orchestra, is the almost inevitable follow-up to their recording of his First and Second concertos for the same ensemble. This disc has an advantage over the earlier release because the Third Concerto is more characteristic of its composer than the first two; that is, it is darker, gloomier, and more pessimistic. In terms of performance, the two discs are about equal. Both are well-played by the Nordic Chamber Orchestra, with tight ensemble, focused intonation, and poised balance, and both are cogently conducted by Lindberg, with the details in place but the big picture always in mind. However, neither is entirely successful for the simple reason that Lindberg and his Swedish musicians do not seem persuaded by the works. The outer movements of the Third Concerto barely hang together, and the long central Mesto seems to go on forever without getting anywhere. It could be argued that these qualities are inherent in the music, and that Lindberg is merely serving the score, but fans of the composer are likely to say that there is more to this music than is revealed in these performances. As always, BIS' digital sound is cool, clear, and vivid.

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