Premiered in 1841, Adolphe Adam’s Gisellestands as one of the most important Frenchdance creations – a rare masterpiece oflyric theatre that is particularly renownedfor the extraordinary beauty of its music.This compilation is dedicated to highlights ofthe fantastical ballet, performed by one ofmusic’s most iconic conductor-orchestrapartnerships: Sir Neville Marriner and theAcademy of St Martin in the Fields.Set in Rhineland in the Middle Ages, thework takes its name from the peasant girlGiselle, who falls in love with a young Dukeas he wanders the German landscape.Complications arise when we discover thatAlbrecht, who has passed himself off as asimple lad to Giselle, is already engaged, andafter his fiancée Bathilde arrives to confirmthis, the peasant girl dances herself intomadness and dies. In the second act,the scene shifts to the spirit world of theWilis – vengeful ghosts of brides who, jiltedbefore their wedding day, prey on youngmen by dancing them to their death.Although Hilarion, a long-standing admirerof Giselle, falls victim to their enchantment,Giselle – now herself a Wili – uses her lovefor Albrecht to protect him from the samefate. Realising that she has saved him,Albrechtbreaks down into tears at her grave.Adam was a prolific ballet writer at theheight of his powers when composingGiselle, and his innate feeling for dramaticprogression is perfectly mirrored in thework’s wealth of orchestral colour – whichranges from brilliantly sparkling to darklydynamic, according to the developments onstage. Paying close attention to the ballet’sindividual instrumental sonorities, Marrinerbrilliantly evokes the dichotomy betweeneveryday life and the otherworldliness ofthe second act to deliver a first-rate performanceof this iconic work.
• Recorded November 1994 in the Churchof St Jude on the Hill, London.• Includes booklet notes in English andGerman.
1. Introduction2. Les vendangeurs3. Entrée du Prince4. Loys seul et entréede Giselle5. Retour de vendangeurs6. Pas de deux7. La Chasse8. Marche des vignerons9. Variation de Giselle10. Final11. Apparition des faux follets12. Apparition et scènede Myrthe13. Apparition de Giselle14. Entrée de Loys- Pas de deux15. Scène des Wilis16. Grand pas de deux17. Variation de Loys18. Variation de Giselle19. Final