Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Kom igen nu!!!

Apologies if this is a bit of a rant. 

I suppose if there were going to be more Pettersson performances besides the ones I knew about already, they would have been on Gehrman's webpage first. 

Today, 27 April 2011, both the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra (SRSO) and the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra (RSPO) announced their 2011-2012 concert seasons, and I am greatly disappointed (but not entirely surprised) to tell you that both concert seasons are 100% Pettersson-free. I suppose I can forgive both ensembles, as the Swedish Radio Choir performed the choral arrangement of the Barefoot Songs (although the SRSO scrapped a performance of the Mesto) and the RSPO will perform both the Symphony No. 7 and the Doráti version of the Barefoot Songs in the next few weeks. Nevertheless, I find it shameful that these two ensembles, who have collectively premiered most of Pettersson's orchestral works, feel that they have sufficiently acknowledged the 100th birthday of their own country's foremost symphonist. Could you imagine if this year's 100th anniversary of Mahler's death were to be acknowledged only with a performance of his Symphony No. 1 in Vienna with the Wiener Philharmoniker? I think not. 

Yes, I know I'm biased, and I also know that there are other factors at play (like getting butts-in-seats). It goes without saying that Pettersson is just one of many composers who have seen a major anniversary pass with only the slightest of acknowledgements. An equally shameful example would be the case of Samuel Barber, one of my favorite composers, whose 100th birthday went practically unnoticed in the states last year. I mean, this is the guy who wrote the Adagio for Strings, surely one of the most performed pieces written in the 20th century. In fact, not a single major American orchestra, unless you include the Austin Symphony, dedicated a single program to his music, which I don't think is much to ask considering how accessible most of his music is. Ok, well the Detroit Symphony did play several of his important works last year. Ironically, an all-Barber program was performed by the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, and even the Sibelius Academy here in Helsinki put on an all-Barber concert of his vocal music. 

I am sure that most of you are familiar with this, but once your tastes in classical music develop beyond the top 100 works, hearing your favorite music in concert can be terribly frustrating. 

Enough about this. For the remaining major Swedish orchestras, it comes down to Malmö, Göteborg (new season announcement tomorrow, 28 April 2011!), and Norrköping. I would be extremely surprised if Norrköping did more than the Symphony No. 6, of which I am already eternally grateful. 

Kom igen nu!!!

1 comment:

  1. I observed this for a long time. In my opinion the reason is that musical life is (as far classical music is concerned) largely standardized throughout the world. This status is combined with a lack of vitality and flexibility. Concert managers try to compensate the general standstill by engaging some attractive soloists or fashionable conductors. But this is always just a transitory help against the "museumisation" of classical muscic.
    At least record labels still continuously release a lot of interesting repertoire. Here musical life is still alive.