Saturday, September 24, 2011

I've been Beebed!

Dear Friends,

On/around Allan's birthday there were several radio programs celebrating the great composer. In case you missed any of them, you can find them here (a huge thanks to Markus Brylka for recording them and putting them up!). On one of these programs was a performance of the Symphony No. 7 with the BBC Scottish SO under Stephen Bell.

Several months on this blog ago I wrote my thoughts on the Symphony No. 7, and I started it out with this paragraph:

"Imagine the scene. It is probably a slightly chilly evening in early fall, 13 October 1968, Stockholm. A young-ish crowd fills the main auditorium of the Stockholm Concert Hall to hear Antal Doráti and the Stockholm Philharmonic in the world premiere of a new symphony by Allan Pettersson, a name which was probably unfamiliar to many in the audience. At the end of this unbroken 41 minute symphony, a mighty work of darkness, conflict, consolation, and resignation, the audience pauses silently to catch its collective breath, briefly contemplates what had just taken place, and then erupts into thunderous, ecstatic applause. Allan Pettersson, now closing in on his 60th year, in poor health and probably in constant pain, is called to the podium four times. When was the last time in the second half of the 20th century that a world premiere of an orchestral work received such a response? Maybe James MacMillan’s The Confession of Isobel Gowdie?"

As I do not have access to/cannot read the original reviews of the premiere performance, as they are in Swedish, what you see above is simply a (perhaps romanticized) impression of what I imagine happened. Most of this has been picked from various sources, such as CD program notes, and put together into the form above. So although there may be some degree of truth to this, I cannot say for sure that this is exactly what happened. 

My dear readers, do me a favor. Read my opening paragraph about the Symphony No. 7 again, then go ahead and listen to the BBC performance from one of the links above (I'll post my review of it in due time). Pay attention to what the announcer, Katie Derham, has to say as she introduces the piece. Sound familiar?! :) I have noticed that some of my readers have been visiting from IP addresses connected to the BBC... 

Made my day to know that I am an "accurate" and quote-worthy source of information on Allan Pettersson!

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