Pettersson: Symphony No. 14 - Lindberg

Pettersson: Symphony No. 14 - Lindberg

BIS  BIS-2230 (2 discs)

Stereo/Multichannel Hybrid

Classical - Orchestral

Pettersson: Symphony No. 14

Norrköping Symphony Orchestra
Christian Lindberg (conductor)

In their series of Allan Pettersson’s symphonies, Christian Lindberg and the Norrköping Symphony Orchestra have arrived at the Fourteenth Symphony, completed in 1978 and given its first performance in 1981, one year after the death of the composer. As several of its predecessors, No. 14 is in one extended movement and is scored for large forces, including an expanded percussion section. But there are also important traits that set it apart. Pettersson, who had studied twelve-tone composition for René Leibovitz in the early 1950’s, never adopted the technique fully but in the present work the traces are more evident than in his other symphonies: the opening few bars contain all of the notes of the chromatic scale, and throughout the work Pettersson makes extensive use of compositional techniques associated with twelve-tone music.

In several earlier works, Pettersson had alluded to his song cycle ‘Barefoot Songs’, but in the present symphony he quotes himself extensively –the melody of Klokarochknythänder (Wise Men and Clenched Hands) appears no less than five times in its entirety and becomes crucial to the structure of the symphony. The present disc is the sixth instalment in a series that has received distinctions such as Empfehlung (, Clef d’or 2011 (, Disco exceptional (Scherzo) and Critics’ Choice (Gramophone). Included with the new recording is a bonus DVD containing a film produced by Swedish Television after the death of the composer. In the course of the film, here provided with English subtitles, we meet the composer himself, members of his family, colleagues from his time as an orchestral player and musicians such as the violinist Ida Haendel.
Includes a bonus DVD of ‘Sangenom livet’ (The Song of Life) –a 2-hour documentary about Allan Pettersson produced for Sveriges Television (SVT)

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PCM recording

Recording: January 2016 at the Louis de Geer Concert Hall, Norrköping, Sweden

Producer: Jens Braun (Take5 Music Production)

Sound engineer: Stephan Reh

Equipment: BIS’s recording teams use microphones from Neumann and Schoeps, audio electronics from RME, Lake People and DirectOut, MADI optical cabling technology, monitoring equipment from B&W, STAX and Sennheiser, and Sequoia and Pyramix digital audio workstations.

Post-production: Editing and mixing: Jens Braun

Executive producer: Robert Suff

24-bit / 96 kHz resolution
Comments (5)

Comment by Waveform - March 6, 2017 (1 of 5)

I am a beginner with the music of Pettersson. Any ideas where to start?

Comment by William Hecht - March 7, 2017 (2 of 5)


Just my thoughts: I suppose of the available sacds on BIS I would start with the pairing of symphonies 4&16, partly because the works are of less immense scale and partly because there are extended sections of more tranquil, more conventionally beautiful music. If you're willing to go for a poor old rbcd then the BIS disc coupling symphonies 7&11 is an even better place to jump in, the 7th being the work that first caused me to love Pettersson's music. I know BIS has the 7th scheduled for remake on sacd but if my increasingly unreliable memory serves not till 2018 or 2019. None of this music is easy, but if you look at the pack of 5 star reviews the BIS sacd's have earned here you'll see that at least some of us find it well worth the effort. One last note: this isn't background music, it requires concentration so carve out the necessary quiet time free of distractions.


Comment by Waveform - March 7, 2017 (3 of 5)

Thanks, Bill. I'll try Pettersson: Symphonies 4 & 16 - Lindberg

Comment by William Hecht - April 10, 2017 (4 of 5)

I've never been privileged to hear a note of Pettersson's music in concert, and my health being what it is I never will. Thank God for the blessings of the sacd and the people like Robert von Bahr and organizations like BIS that keep it alive. I'm moved to write this personal note because this is just such a fabulous, amazing, moving piece of music, brilliantly conducted, courageously played, and wonderfully recorded in the bargain. A profound thank you to all concerned.

Comment by Adrian Quanjer - April 14, 2017 (5 of 5)

Hi Bill,

Sorry to hear about your health. I agree that we are lucky to still having some first rate classical producers around like BIS and others, giving us a chance to listen to quality music 'as though we were in a concert hall' (given the right reproduction equipment).

I always appreciate your knowledgable and constructive contributions and I feel that it is our - the reviewers on this site - task to be positively and constructively critical to guide potential buyers and in doing so to support indirectly those who continue to serve the hi-res community with producing the best possible recordings of not only standard repertoire, but also that what lies off the beaten track, whilst exploring the younger generation and lesser known, but all the same excellent orchestral formations.


1xSACD & 1xDVD