Wonderful, crisp orchestration. This is a masterful recording
I had listened to five and thirteen before this recording, so I was well prepared. I had never heard Norrkoping before, but had listened to Segerstam's Rautavaara symphonies before, and for me he is a superb director. I had no idea of the treat that I was in for. Most of Pettersson's symphonies are on one huge canvass. The eight is different - it is in two parts.
I would think that you would have to like modern orchestral music to get to grips with any of Pettersson's works, but if you think you could listen to say a modern style 'symphonie fantastique', and are a bit of a thinker on the quiet, then this is definitely for you.
The orchestration is bold, dark and uncompromising. You will find hints of Shostakovich and Janecek and many more, but there is no doubting the influence of Carl Neilsen.
I remember reading once that living in the modern world was dehumanising - I find that same sentiment in Pettersson's works - but Pettersson's frustration, rage and mental anguish are never far beneath the surface. He also uses a leitmotif in number eight as a kind of celestial question.
If you like bold orchestral tones, then you don't need to look further. Although Pettersson is something of an enigma, his character and humanity shine through these works in a breathtaking way. Whether he was depressed or suicidal isn't clear, but he was a deep thinker, and for me his genius shines through in this work.
I adore the broad strokes, the crispness and depth of this recording. The way the mountains highs creep up and the combinations of texture - it is a truly masterful work and will not disappoint. The recording is very close - and there are times when possibly a little too close. But what a superb recording, what a superb combination, Be warned though, listening to this recording will drain you completely. I think I might even consider travelling to Sweden to hear this; I can't see it being performed in my country anytime soon...