LEIF SEGERSTAM (b.1944): Symphonies No. 81 "After Eighty...", No. 162 "Doubling the Number for Bergen" and No. 181 "Names itself when played...".
Catalogue Number: 02M090
Reference: ODE 1172-2
Description: This disc presents Segerstam's 'Bergen Trilogy' of symphonies written for the Bergen S.O. (with his characteristic word- and number-games in their titles). It is worth saying at the outset that all three are impressively powerful essays, sharing an undeniable consistency of style while charting very different trajectories as they progress. S egerstam's uniquely prolific symphonic output - he is now approaching the 250 mark, with little sign of slowing down - is above all, it seems, an effort to capture the teeming impressions of a life (one senses, a very full life with an almost overwhelming proliferation of details, experienced with hallucinatory clarity, the 'doors of perception' thrown wide open), while bypassing as much as possible the time-consuming strictures of conventional musical form. His 'Free-pulsative' method consists of the composition of material which is assembled in performance according to guidelines established by the score and cued from within the orchestra, allowing a significant degree of freedom to the players. This is no free-for-all, however; mountainous brass chords and rolling surges of string texture are the bones of the landscape on which Segerstam builds his edifices, and are audibly drawn from his experiences as conductor of the Romantic repertoire (Mahler, Brahms) and their successors (Sibelius, Pettersson, Rautavaara). A wealth of colorful detail decorates the surface of the music, with unusual instrumentation but little, if any radically 'extended' techniques). The works are anchored by two pianos, spatially disposed to either side of the orchestra, often responsible for marking the changes between sections of the pieces; No.181 has a concertante solo violin part (as do a number of Segerstam's other symphonies, perhaps alluding to the fact that the composer is a violinist (and violist, aside from pianist and conductor). Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra.