Allan Pettersson, "the Swedish Mahler"

It is my belief that the composer "Allan Pettersson," sometimes called "The Swedish Mahler," is one of the master symphonists of the twentieth century.  A thread asking people to consider Allan Pettersson's virtues as a composer has has not yet been posted on Composers' Forum, until now.  I wanted to post one many months ago, but the controversy about Jean Sibelius versus Allan Pettersson raged so furiously back then, that no one dared to raise or discuss the topic.  That all seems a bit silly now.  I recall that I wrote this on a thread about the music of Jean Sibelius, in Jan. 2015:




Another symphonist, for those who like the "Northern" attitude and mood, is Allan Pettersson.   It was a member of this forum who pointed him out to me:


This is his Symphony no. 9.


Frankly, after years and years of hearing about Jean Sibelius (and remaining relatively unimpressed), I felt that Pettersson's work was very unjustly neglected, and that his music was far superior to that of Sibelius, just after a few hearings of this single work.  Apparently I am not alone in this, and the star of Allan Pettersson is quickly rising.  But don't take my word for it. Do the comparison yourself. If you don't know Pettersson's work, you may be very pleasantly surprised to discover someone as good as, or greater than, Sibelius.


The observation was made regarding Sibelius:


"His Seventh Symphony is unique in that it consists of a single monumental movement."


I am afraid that is not something unique to Sibelius' Seventh, nor was it original with him.  Franz Schreker, whose music is being rediscovered, wrote a single movement symphony as early as 1916. It's not unique, because a great many composers (such as Shostakovich) have written one movement symphonies. I won't attempt to list them all here. Several of Pettersson's symphonies are one movement works, quite "monumental," perhaps surpassing all but Mahler and Bruckner in breadth of conception.  Maybe a comparison of Sibelius' Seventh and Allan Petterssen's Ninth would be instructive. People who wish to champion Sibelius can tell me whose work they believe is superior, today, and why they think so.




Such a view was apparently seen as "negative," and provocative. 


After I posted the above remark, on January 2, 2015 at 6:39pm, the following occurred: 


On January 2, 2015 at 10:11pm, less than four hours later, the thread master (who was also a moderator at the time), closed down the thread, with these remarks:


"As it appears that relevant, non-negativistic comments have stopped, I am now closing this thread. Thanks to all who responded in the spirit in which it was intended."


I found it interesting, at the time, that the thread master (who departed a long time ago), would feel the need to close down the thread, simply because someone had questioned the proposed doctrine, that Jean Sibelius was the undisputed master symphonist of the 20th century.


When I copied the discussion, and then posted some of it, in an attempt to see the issue debated (Jean Sibelius v. Allan Pettersson), the thread was unceremoniously censored, torn down, in fact, by the very same thread initiator (a moderator at that time), who did not want to see the issue discussed any further. 


That was I long time ago, and since there seems to be no obstacle now to what might normally be considered a healthy discussion, I ask people to consider the virtues of Allan Pettersson.



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