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Victoria Borisova-Ollas: Oh Giselle, remember me ...

  • for violoncello and orchestra
  • 3 3 3 3 - 4 3 3 1 - timp, perc(3), hp, pno, str
  • Duration: 25’
  • Soloists:
  • Instrumentation details:
    1st flute
    2nd flute
    3rd flute (+picc)
    1st oboe
    2nd oboe
    3rd oboe
    1st clarinet in Bb
    2nd clarinet in Bb
    3rd clarinet in Bb (+bass cl)
    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
  • Dedication: dedicated to Truls Mørk
  • Commission: Co-commissioned by Swedish Radio Orchestra Stockholm RSO, Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra, Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra and Royal Liverpool Philharmonic

Work introduction

Oh Giselle, remember me ...
for cello and symphony orchestra

Giselle is one of the most famous and successful ballets in the history of music. The story is filled with all sorts of romance such as betrayed feelings, mysterious transformations, jealousy, vengeance, constant emotional outbursts, and timeless love that overcomes all betrayal and all evil. Of course, as in the center of all classical and modern ballet sets, Giselle is an absolutely central character, as well as her lover Albrecht. There are also other powerful characters such as Myrtha, the Queen of the Wilis, a corps of the evil spirits of betrayed virgins who, in their mortal life, have died in the suites of unfortunate adventures in love. The plot keeps all of the characters in a state of constant dynamic movement from the very beginning to the very end of the show. The music, written by Adolph Adam in 1841, is wonderful.

Despite all this, it seemed quite obvious to me that the story can also be told with more modern musical means. Writing one more ballet with the same content has never crossed my mind. I decided to make the nobleman Albrecht a main storyteller this time and let his voice go to one of the world's most beautiful instruments, cello. Furthermore, I decided to let the orchestra help in the process of recreating some of the story's most dramatic scenes. This time everything starts with Albrecht searching for Giselle's grave in the middle of a wild forest. According to the original version of the libretto, she has committed suicide and could not be buried in the sacred ground of a church cemetery. He realizes his guilt fully as he has betrayed her cruelly and she has taken her own life as a result of this betrayal. Moreover, she died in his arms. Time has passed but he cannot forget. He can't forgive himself either. He has come to ask for forgiveness and her spirit is willing to give it to him. Suddenly Myrtha and the Wilis are revealing themselves and demand revenge. They are forcing Albrecht to nearly dance himself to death. Albrecht survives thanks to the power of Giselle's love. She counters the Wilis’ evil magic powers and spares his life. She will haunt the forest no longer and may finally turn back to her grave. He is doomed to a long life filled with horrible memories and remorse.

Oh Giselle, remember me ... for Cello and Symphony Orchestra is a co-commission between the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra and Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra. The concert is dedicated to the soloist Truls Mørk.

Victoria Borisova-Ollas

The complete perusal score (PDF-preview)

Next performances

World première

Berwaldhallen, Stockholm (SE)
Sveriges Radios Symfoniorkester
Christian Macelaru
Main soloists:
Truls Mørk, Vcl

Press reviews

Oh Giselle, remember me ...

Giselle seduces as a Cello concerto designed by the master architect of music composition, Victoria Borisova-Ollas.

Sofia Nyblom, Svenska Dagbladet


In Victoria Borisova-Olla's orchestral works, the stories are always embedded in a luxurious, colorful sound bed and just waiting to be awakened. So is it with Oh Giselle, remember me, the Cello concerto that is being performed in the Berwaldhallen. Giselle is the second part of the diptych whose first part met the audience during the Stockholm Konserthuset`s  seasonal opening this year, the Violin concerto A Portrait of a Lady by Swan Lake.
In Adolphe Adams's "Giselle" from 1841, the main character gets her heart broken by a man...
Borisova-Ollas is a master architect who lets the listener step right into the middle of the story of Giselle, in a buzzing, humming forest of sound and gesture. The phenomenal cello soloist Truls Mørk , who according to the composer embodies Giselle`s cruel lover Albrecht, is swaying in the middle surrounded by the sounds of  glittering glockenspiel, chimes and the brass section's dark depths. As in Richard Strauss's Don Quixote, he is searching for his Dulcinea, but is assaulted by supernatural Wilis instead of fighting with windmills.
Sometimes pizzicati and woodwinds are reminiscent of the music of Adolphe Adam, but above all, Giselle has a grander darkness and contains even stronger contrasts than A Portrait of a Lady by Swan Lake.
A very beautiful Cello concerto which sparkles with both hope and anxiety.

Sofia Nyblom, Svenska Dagbladet

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