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Tomas Cohen Photography

A Night in Vienna

The Philadelphia Orchestra
Orchestral Series
Sunday, July 9, 2023 at 6pm Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater

Denève leads the Orchestra in an evening full of celebratory and popular tunes, featuring repertoire by Strauss, Tchaikovsky, Piazzola, and more.  

The Philadelphia Orchestra's distinctive sound returns to Bravo! Vail for its annual residency in July. The Fabulous Philadelphians are admired for a legacy of innovation and known for their keen ability to capture the hearts and imaginations of audiences.

All artists, programs, and pricing are subject to change.​

Program Details

Stéphane Denève, conductor
David Kim, violin


BERLIOZ “Un Bal.Valse” from Symphonie Fantastique 
TAKEMITSU Waltz from The Face of Another 
TCHAIKOVSKY “Waltz of the Flowers” from The Nutcracker 
SIBELIUS Valse Triste, Op. 44 from Kuolema 
RODGERS Carousel Waltz 
J. STRAUSS II. On the Beautiful Blue Danube, Waltz, Op. 314
J. STRAUSS II. Emperor Waltz, Op. 427
KREISLER/ORCH. MCALISTER Liebesleid for Violin and Orchestra 
RAVEL La Valse 


Guest Artists

Stéphane Denève


David Kim


Program Notes

“Un bal. Valse,” from Symphonie fantastique, Op. 14 (1830, rev. 1832)

(6 minutes)


“Un bal. Valse,” from Symphonie fantastique, Op. 14


That Hector Berlioz’ Symphonie fantastique was a “program symphony” was not unprecedented, but its five movements went well beyond the merely descriptive to enter the realm of the psychological—an unstable state of mind that spills into hallucinations as the hero, a young musician, imagines the course of a love affair. In the second movement, he finds himself waltzing at a ball—“in the midst of the tumult of a party,” Berlioz wrote—where the image of his beloved “appears before him and disturbs his peace of mind.”

“Waltz,” from The Face of Another (1966)

(3 minutes)


Waltz, from The Face of Another


Tōru Takemitsu is admired in the concert hall for his luminous orchestral and chamber works. His film scores are less widely known, but he wrote more than a hundred, including for such noted directors of the Japanese New Wave as Akira Kurosawa. The 1966 film The Face of Another, directed by Hiroshi Teshigahara, involves a man who, after his face is disfigured, is fitted with a mask that effects a drastic change in his personality. At once romantic and melancholy, “Waltz” underpins a scene in a German-Japanese bar, sung with German lyrics in the movie.

“Waltz of the Flowers,” from The Nutcracker, Op. 71 (1891-92)

(6 minutes)


“Waltz of the Flowers,” from The Nutcracker, Op. 71 


The Mariinsky Theater of St. Petersburg commissioned Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky to compose The Nutcracker as a follow-up to his ballet The Sleeping Beauty. The tale, derived from an E.T.A. Hoffmann story, is strange; “In The Nutcracker there is no subject whatever,” complained one early critic. It was a flop, and years passed before its reputation was reversed. In the United States, it didn’t get its first full-length airing until 1944 (in San Francisco), and only after George Balanchine staged it a decade later did it become omnipresent.

Valse triste (1903/04)

(6 minutes)

JEAN SIBELIUS (1865-1957)

Valse triste, Op. 44 


In 1903, Jean Sibelius composed six numbers to serve as incidental music for Kuolema (Death), a Symbolist play written by his moderately talented brother-in-law, Arvid Järnefelt. The first item was this waltz, which accompanied a scene in which a woman rises from her deathbed to dance with an imaginary partner, who is then replaced by Death himself. A few months later, Sibelius re-orchestrated this macabre waltz, which quickly became essential repertoire for palm[1]court orchestras throughout the world.

Carousel Waltz (1944-45)

(8 minutes)


Carousel Waltz


Composer Richard Rodgers and lyricist Oscar Hammerstein II struck gold in 1943 with their first Broadway collaboration, Oklahoma!, and two years later they repeated their success with Carousel, about a New England carousel barker who travels a downward spiral to suicide—and then gets a second chance, posthumously, to show a more noble spirit than he did while living. Rodgers composed the Carousel Waltz to serve as an overture, saying it gave “the audience an emotional feeling for the characters in the story and helped to establish the mood for the entire play.”


On the Beautiful Blue Danube, Waltz, Op. 314 (1866-67) Emperor Waltz, Op. 437 (1889)

(10 minutes)


On the Beautiful Blue Danube, Waltz, Op. 314


The waltzing Strauss family comprised five star composers spread through three generations, but it was Johann Jr. who earned the sobriquet “The Waltz King,” serving as director of Vienna’s court balls from 1863 to 1871, at which point he handed the reins to his brother Eduard. His immensely popular On the Beautiful Blue Danube has been embraced as a near-universal anthem of carefree elegance, but Strauss wrote it for a choral society that sang it with an ironic text commenting on economic upheaval that was making headlines just then in Vienna.


(18 minutes)

Emperor Waltz, Op. 437 (1889)

(11 minutes)


Emperor Waltz, Op. 437 


The Emperor Waltz celebrated a good-will visit by Emperor Franz Joseph, the reigning Habsburg monarch of the Austro-Hungarian Empire (and therefore Vienna), to Kaiser Wilhelm II, the Prussian monarch, following uneasy decades of posturing over whether Prussia should subsume Austria-Hungary, Austria[1]Hungary should subsume Prussia, or both should continue as separate German-speaking states (which was the eventual decision). When Strauss conducted his piece in Berlin, he presented it under the ambiguous title Kaiser-W, which Germans could interpret as denoting “Kaiser Wilhelm” and Austrians as the more general “Kaiser-Walzer”—meaning Emperor Waltz, as it became known in English.

Liebesleid (Love’s Sorrow), for Violin and Orchestra (1905)

(4 minutes)

FRITZ KREISLER (1875-1962)

Liebesleid, for Violin and Orchestra


Vienna-born Fritz Kreisler was a violinist of legendary technique and charm to match, but he also kept busy as a composer; his output included a string quartet, cadenzas for the Beethoven and Brahms Violin Concertos, and numerous light pieces for the violin, including quite a few that he mischievously attributed to obscure composers of earlier centuries. He published Liebesleid in 1910 in a collection of what he bizarrely, and falsely, claimed were transcriptions of folk dances (ländler, to be specific) by way of the Viennese composer Joseph Lanner, a contemporary of Schubert’s.

La valse (1919-20)

(13 minutes)

MAURICE RAVEL (1875-1937)

La valse 


In 1906, Maurice Ravel started planning a musical tribute to Johann Strauss II, but he didn’t get farther than choosing its title: Wien (Vienna). Years passed, Europe crumbled in World War I, and by the time he got around to composing La valse, the gaiety of the Viennese ballroom could no longer be presented without irony. Instead, Ravel’s tone poem reveals itself, ever so gradually, as a danse macabre: its spirit is often woozy, and in its final minutes we are forced to accept that the waltz has run irretrievably amok.

The Philadelphia Orchestra is admired for a legacy of innovation and known for its keen ability to capture the hearts and imaginations of audiences. This Orchestra’s distinctive sound returns to Bravo! Vail for its 16th residency in 2023.

All artists, programs, and pricing are subject to change.

Presented At

Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater