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Victoria Borisova-Ollas: Symphony No. 2

  • ‘Labyrinths of Time’ (2017)
  • for orchestra
  • 3 3 3 3 - 4 3 3 1 - timp, perc(3), hp, pno, str
  • Duration: 30’
  • Instrumentation details:
    1st flute
    2nd flute
    1st oboe
    2nd oboe
    3rd oboe (+c.a)
    1st clarinet in Bb
    2nd clarinet in Bb
    3rd clarinet in Bb (+bass cl(Bb))
    1st bassoon
    2nd bassoon
    3rd bassoon (+cbsn)
    1st horn in F
    2nd horn in F
    3rd horn in F
    4th horn in F
    1st trumpet in C
    2nd trumpet in C
    3rd trumpet in C
    1st trombone
    2nd trombone
    3rd trombone
    1st percussion
    2nd percussion
    3rd percussion
    piano (+cel)
    violin I
    violin II
    double bass
  • Composer: Victoria Borisova-Ollas
  • Commission: Commissioned by Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra and The Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra

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Work introduction

How does the mechanism which controls our ability to remember the past work?

My own solution to this mystery is a combination of three keywords: time, pulse, and memory.

In fact, we cannot remember events as if they were lined up as a chain of beautiful pearls from a perfectly neat necklace. Instead, we remember short sections of conversations, colors, still and moving images. We remember voices, melodies, and in more complicated contexts also texts, numbers, music scores, and drawings. Of course, all of that varies from one person to another depending very much on what sort of personalities we have, our occupations and our age range.

One can also experience the memory process as a walk in a labyrinth. I imagine that labyrinth as a giant interior of a church tower's clockwork. We take one step to the right, one step to the left while the huge machinery ticks, its wheels rattling and scratching. The clock hits a quarter of an hour, two quarters, three quarters … then the final chord arrives!

Time always has a pulse, and therefore it is closely related to the music. The heart beats faster or slower while the short episodes of the silent movie keep rolling back and forth. We remember, we breathe, we exist.

Symphony No. 2 “Labyrinths of Time” was written between 2015 and 2016. It was commissioned by Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra and the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra.

Victoria Borisova-Ollas

Sample pages

World première

Göteborgs Konserthus, Göteborg (SE)
Göteborgs Symfoniker
Andrey Boreyko

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