||ALLAN PETTERSSON - Symphony No. 6 - Christian Lindberg (Conductor) -
Norrköping Symphony Orchestra - Hybrid SACD - 7318599919805 - Released: September 2012 - BIS SACD1980|
At 60 minutes in duration, and with a score spanning more than 2000 bars, this single-movement symphonic work by Allan Pettersson (1911-1980),
his Symphony No. 6 (1963-66), certainly deserves, if not appreciation from everyone, the highest praise and respect for its sustained
momentum (however minimal), steady hand and unwavering vision from start to finish. Unjustly overshadowed by his own Symphony No. 7 reviewed here
(premièred and given greater exposure through a recording by conductor Antal Dorati), the No. 6 could very easily be viewed as a preamble to the 7th (military drumrolls and all), and as far as
style and construction are concerned, be considered its equal. The term maximal minimal could be used to define his music, as its use of short rhythmic patterns and
short two or three note motifs and gestures, as well as an overall feeling of malaise, all coalesce to form a single, solid and unified idea over an extended period of time.
What amazes the most in Pettersson's technique, is how he gets from practically nothing to overwhelming climaxes with the least material, and how he can sustain desolation
and desperation over such long stretches of time. Some critics have defined his music as the "apogee of musical darkness and misery". True, but when, after a series of
heartwrenching outcries, at the 26:17 mark, the mood lifts for only a short period of time, Pettersson makes it feel like a ray of sunshine after a month of midnights. Listen
closely or you will miss it altogether.