Wednesday, May 11, 2011

A difficult decision...

Some of you might be horribly jealous to hear this, but I have actually had the privilege of hearing Pettersson's Symphony No. 7 three times live in concert. However, none of these performances will likely match the "dream-team" arrangement which is happening in Stockholm today and tomorrow: Leif Segerstam conducting the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra in Pettersson's Symphony No. 7. Also on the program are the almost illegally beautiful Vier letzten Lieder from Richard Strauss. In addition to these performances, there will be a photo exhibition featuring portraits of Pettersson by Gunnar Källström. Pretty good package.

As a serious Pettersson fan, I really do not have much of an excuse for not going. After all, Stockholm is only a 55 minute flight from here, and budget flights are available. My justification for missing this event is because here in Helsinki, unfortunately at the same time, there will be a performance of Gubaidulina's Glorious Percussion, my favorite work of hers and a deeply intense spiritual (and aural) journey. Like Pettersson, Gubaidulina is not exactly something you'll hear with the same frequency as Brahms.

However, if Segerstam were conducting say, symphonies 6, 10, or 15, then Pettersson would win. 

For those of you who will be in Stockholm to see these concerts, please let me know how they go! I really wish I could be there, but I'll accept consolation from Gubaidulina.


  1. I was present at Leif Segerstam's performance of Pettersson Symphony No. 7 in Monchengladbach on May 26, 1995 (with the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra) and still remember it as an event of grandeur and immense spontanity. I also attended Segerstam conducting Pettersson's Symphony No. 8 at the Deutsche Oper Berlin on January 30, 1998 (within the framework of a guest performance of the Royal Opera Stockholm) and had the impression of a rather relaxed interpretation, however the orchestra (Royal Opera Orchestra) wasn't in the same league as the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic. In any case attending a Segerstam concert obviously is rewarding without exception. It's a pity he didn't complete his Pettersson cycle on BIS.

  2. I've done 4 live performances of the 7th! Not bad from England, I reckon.
    Swedish Radio SO Honeck
    Malmo SO Storgards
    Copenhagen PO Agrest
    Stockholm PO Gilbert
    And yesterday (4 Nov 2011) came back to England from TWO performances of No 6 at Norrkoping and Linkoping with Norrkoping SO and Christian Lindberg. BRILLIANT!!