The Fabulous Philadelphians return to Vail with a “dessert before dinner” program of dazzling illuminations and breathtaking melodies. The Andante Cantabile is a luscious treat, the perfect introduction to Tchaikovsky’s brilliant Violin Concerto, rich and full of sparkle, especially in the hands of Canadian virtuoso James Ehnes. Filled with kaleidoscopic colors, brassy outbursts and pastoral joy, Sibelius’s most popular symphony is an orchestral gem.
THE PHILADELPHIA ORCHESTRA
STÉPHANE DENÈVE, CONDUCTOR
JAMES EHNES SOLOIST
TCHAIKOVSKY/STOKOWSKI: Andante Cantabile
TCHAIKOVSKY: Violin Concerto
SIBELIUS: Symphony No. 2
TCHAIKOVSKY/STOKOWSKI: ANDANTE CANTABILE
Andante Cantabile from the String Quartet No. 1 in D major, Op. 11 (1871)
PETER ILYICH TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893)
ARRANGED BY LEOPOLD STOKOWSKI (1882-1977)
New Year 1871 found Tchaikovsky, a member of the Moscow Conservatory faculty for five years and a composer of budding genius, nearly broke. His salary at the school was hardly more than meager and his only large compositions to that time—Romeo and Juliet and the First Symphony—had met with only tiny success, providing little promise of future royalties. His superior at the Conservatory, Nikolai Rubinstein, suggested that his young colleague stage a concert entirely of his own compositions both to raise some funds and to bring his music before the public. Tchaikovsky dreamed of presenting an orchestral performance, but he had neither the repertory nor the finances to support such a venture, so he settled on a chamber concert for which he would compose a new string quartet. The D major Quartet, the first chamber work of his maturity, was written quickly and premiered at his concert in Moscow on March 28, 1871. Though the hall was not full, the income was sufficient to relieve Tchaikovsky’s most immediate financial distress, and the Quartet’s second movement—Andante Cantabile (“Moderate in tempo, singing”)—became one of his most popular creations.
The Andante Cantabile is built from two themes. The first is a folk song that Tchaikovsky collected during a visit to Ukraine in summer 1866. Titled Vanya, the words of the old tune could hardly be less appropriate to its lovely setting: “Vanya sat on the sofa and smoked a pipe of tobacco.” The second theme, given by the violins above a pizzicato accompaniment, is entirely of Tchaikovsky’s own invention.
TCHAIKOVSKY: VIOLIN CONCERTO
Violin Concerto in D major, Op. 35 (1878)
PETER ILYICH TCHAIKOVSKY
In the summer of 1877, Tchaikovsky undertook the disastrous marriage that lasted less than three weeks and resulted in his emotional collapse and attempted suicide. He decided that travel outside of Russia would be a balm to his spirit, and he duly installed himself at Clarens on Lake Geneva in Switzerland soon after the first of the year. In Clarens, he had already begun work on a piano sonata when he heard the colorful Symphonie Espagnole by the French composer Edouard Lalo. He was so excited by the possibilities of a work for solo violin and orchestra that he set aside the sonata and immediately began a concerto of his own.
Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto opens quietly with a tentative introductory tune. After a few unaccompanied measures, the violin presents the lovely main theme. The second theme begins a long buildup leading into the development, launched with a sweeping presentation of the main theme. A flashing cadenza serves as a link to the recapitulation. The Andante suggests the music of a Gypsy fiddler. The finale is imbued with the propulsive spirit of a dashing Russian dance.
SIBELIUS: SYMPHONY NO. 2
Symphony No. 2 in D major, Op. 43 (1901-1902)
JEAN SIBELIUS (1865-1957)
Sibelius spent the early months of 1901 in Italy, away from the rigors of the Scandinavian winter. So inspired was he by the culture, history and beauty of the sunny south (as had been Goethe and Brahms) that he envisioned a work based on Dante’s Divine Comedy. However, a second symphony to follow the first of 1899 was gestating, and the Dante work was eventually abandoned. Sibelius was well launched on the new Second Symphony by the time he left for home. He made two important stops before returning to Finland. The first was at Prague, where he met Dvořák; the second was to hear performances of his works at the June Music Festival in Heidelberg that enhanced his budding European reputation. Still flush with the success of his 1901 tour when he arrived home, he decided he was secure enough financially (thanks in large part to an annual stipend initiated in 1897 by the Finnish government) to leave his teaching job and devote himself full time to composition. Sibelius came into his creative maturity with the Second Symphony. So successful was the work’s premiere on March 8, 1902 that it had to be repeated at three successive concerts in a short time to satisfy the clamor for further performances.
The Second Symphony opens with an introduction in which the strings present a chordal motive that courses through much of the first movement. A bright, folk-like strain for the woodwinds and a hymnal response from the horns constitute the opening theme. The second theme starts with a long-held note that intensifies to a quick rhythmic flourish. This theme and a complementary one of angular leaps and unsettled tonality close the exposition and figure prominently in the ensuing development. A stentorian brass chorale closes this section and leads to the recapitulation. The second movement, though closely related to sonatina form (sonata without development), is best heard as a series of dramatic paragraphs whose strengths lie not only in their individual qualities, but also in their powerful juxtapositions. The third movement is a three-part form whose lyrical, unhurried central trio provides a strong contrast to the mercurial surrounding scherzo. The slow music of the trio returns as a bridge to the sonata-form closing movement, which has a grand sweep and uplifting spirituality that make it one of the last unadulterated flowerings of the great Romantic tradition.
Stéphane Denève is Music Director of the Brussels Philharmonic and the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, former Principal Guest Conductor of The Philadelphia Orchestra, and Director of the Centre for Future Orchestral Repertoire (CffOR).
James Ehnes has established himself as one of the most sought-after violinists on the international stage. Gifted with a rare combination of stunning virtuosity, serene lyricism and an unfaltering musicality, Ehnes is a favorite guest of many of the world’s most respected conductors
Stéphane Denève is Music Director of the Brussels Philharmonic and the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, former Principal Guest Conductor of The Philadelphia Orchestra, and Director of the Centre for Future Orchestral Repertoire (CffOR). He has previously served as Chief Conductor of Stuttgart Radio Symphony Orchestra (SWR) and Music Director of the Royal Scottish National Orchestra.
Recognized internationally for the exceptional quality of his performances and programming, he regularly appears at major concert venues with the world’s greatest orchestras and soloists. He has a special affinity for the music of his native France, and is a passionate advocate for music of the 21st century.
Recent engagements include appearances with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Orchestra Sinfonica dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, Vienna Symphony, DSO Berlin, NHK Symphony, Munich Philharmonic, Orchestre National de France, Czech Philharmonic, and Rotterdam Philharmonic. In North America he made his Carnegie Hall debut in 2012 with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, with whom he has appeared several times both in Boston and at Tanglewood, and he regularly conducts The Cleveland Orchestra, New York Philharmonic, Los Angeles Philharmonic, San Francisco Symphony and Toronto Symphony. He is also a popular guest at many of the US summer music festivals, including Bravo! Vail, Saratoga Performing Arts Center, Hollywood Bowl, Blossom Music Festival, Festival Napa Valley, Grand Teton Music Festival, and Music Academy of the West.
He enjoys close relationships with many of the world’s leading solo artists, including Jean-Yves Thibaudet, Yo-Yo Ma, Nikolaj Znaider, James Ehnes, Leif Ove Andsnes, Leonidas Kavakos, Nicholas Angelich, Lang Lang, Frank Peter Zimmermann, Gil Shaham, Emanuel Ax, Renaud and Gautier Capuçon, Lars Vogt, Nikolai Lugansky, Paul Lewis, Joshua Bell, Hilary Hahn, and Augustin Hadelich.
In the field of opera, Stéphane Denève led a new production of Pelléas et Mélisande with the Netherlands Opera at the 2019 Holland Festival. Elsewhere, he has led productions at the Royal Opera House, Glyndebourne Festival, La Scala, Deutsche Oper Berlin, Saito Kinen Festival, Gran Teatro de Liceu, La Monnaie, Deutsche Oper Am Rhein, and at the Opéra National de Paris.
As a recording artist, he has won critical acclaim for his recordings of the works of Poulenc, Debussy, Ravel, Roussel, Franck and Connesson. He is a triple winner of the Diapason d’Or of the Year, has been shortlisted for Gramophone’s Artist of the Year Award, and has won the prize for symphonic music at the International Classical Music Awards. His most recent releases include a live recording of Honegger’s Jeanne d’arc au bûcher with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, and two discs of the works of Guillaume Connesson with the Brussels Philharmonic (the first of which was awarded the Diapason d’Or de l’année, Caecilia Award, and Classica Magazine’s CHOC of the Year).
A graduate and prize-winner of the Paris Conservatoire, Stéphane Denève worked closely in his early career with Sir Georg Solti, Georges Prêtre and Seiji Ozawa. A gifted communicator and educator, he is committed to inspiring the next generation of musicians and listeners, and has worked regularly with young people in programs such as those of the Tanglewood Music Center, New World Symphony, the Colburn School, the European Union Youth Orchestra, and the Music Academy of the West.
James Ehnes has established himself as one of the most sought-after violinists on the international stage. Gifted with a rare combination of stunning virtuosity, serene lyricism and an unfaltering musicality, Ehnes is a favourite guest of many of the world’s most respected conductors including Ashkenazy, Alsop, Sir Andrew Davis, Denève, Elder, Ivan Fischer, Gardner, Paavo Järvi, Mena, Noseda, Robertson and Runnicles. Ehnes’s long list of orchestras includes, amongst others, the Boston, Chicago, London, NHK and Vienna Symphony Orchestras, the Los Angeles, New York, Munich and Czech Philharmonic Orchestras, and the Cleveland, Philadelphia, Philharmonia and DSO Berlin orchestras.
Recent and future orchestral highlights include the MET Orchestra at Carnegie Hall with Noseda, Gewandhausorchester Leipzig with Shelley, Orchestre National de France with Gardner, San Francisco Symphony with Janowski, Frankfurt Radio Symphony with Orozco-Estrada, Hong Kong Philharmonic with van Zweden and Gothenburg Symphony with Nagano, as well as his debut with the London Philharmonic Orchestra at the Lincoln Center in spring 2019 and a residency with the Minnesota Orchestra throughout 2017/18. In 2017, Ehnes premiered the Aaron-Jay Kernis Violin Concerto with the Toronto, Seattle and Dallas Symphony Orchestras, and gave further performances of the piece with the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester and Melbourne Symphony Orchestra. Ehnes was awarded the 2017 Royal Philharmonic Society Award in the Instrumentalist category.
Alongside his concerto work, James Ehnes maintains a busy recital schedule. He performs regularly at the Wigmore Hall, Carnegie Hall, Symphony Center Chicago, Amsterdam Concertgebouw, Ravinia, Montreux, Chaise-Dieu, the White Nights Festival in St Petersburg, Verbier Festival, Festival de Pâques in Aix, and in 2009 he made a sensational debut at the Salzburg Festival performing the Paganini Caprices. In 2016, Ehnes undertook a cross-Canada recital tour, performing in each of the country’s provinces and territories, to celebrate his 40th birthday.
As a chamber musician, he has collaborated with leading artists such as Andsnes, Capucon, Lortie, Lugansky, Yo-Yo Ma, Tamestit, Vogler and Yuja Wang. In 2010, he formally established the Ehnes Quartet, with whom he has performed in Europe at venues including the Wigmore Hall, Auditorium du Louvre in Paris and Théâtre du Jeu de Paume in Aix, amongst others. Ehnes is the Artistic Director of the Seattle Chamber Music Society.
Ehnes has an extensive discography and has won many awards for his recordings including a Gramophone Award for his live recording of the Elgar Concerto with Sir Andrew Davis and the Philharmonia Orchestra. His recording of the Korngold, Barber and Walton violin concertos won a Grammy Award for ‘Best Instrumental Soloist Performance’ and a JUNO award for ‘Best Classical Album of the Year’. His recording of the Paganini Caprices earned him universal praise, with Diapason writing of the disc, “Ehnes confirms the predictions of Erick Friedman, eminent student of Heifetz: ‘there is only one like him born every hundred years’.” Ehnes’s recent recording of the Bartók Concerti was nominated for a Gramophone Award in the Concerto category. Recent releases include sonatas by Beethoven, Debussy, Elgar and Respighi, and concertos by Britten, Shostakovich, Prokofiev and Walton, as well as the Beethoven Violin Concerto with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra and Andrew Manze, which was released in October 2017 (Onyx Classics).
Ehnes began violin studies at the age of four, became a protégé of the noted Canadian violinist Francis Chaplin aged nine, made his orchestral debut with Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal aged 13 and graduated from The Juilliard School in 1997, winning the Peter Mennin Prize for Outstanding Achievement and Leadership in Music. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and in 2010 was appointed a Member of the Order of Canada.
James Ehnes plays the “Marsick” Stradivarius of 1715.
Photo: Benjamin Ealovega
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Where are the orchestra concert performances held?
Bravo! Vail orchestral concerts take place at Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater (GRFA) located at 530 S. Frontage Rd E Vail, CO 81657
What time do performances begin?
Concerts start promptly at 6:00PM (except for the movie screening which starts at 7:30PM). The GRFA lobby opens 90 minutes prior and gates open 60 minutes prior to performances. Give yourself plenty of time to park and get into the venue. Latecomers will be escorted by ushers at an appropriate interval.
Where do I park?
FREE concert parking is available at the Vail Parking Structure (241 South Frontage Road East, Vail) and the Lionshead Parking Structure (395 South Frontage Road West, Vail). A Town of Vail Special Event express bus provides continuous service from both parking structures to the GRFA before and after concerts. Limited $10 parking is available at Ford Park by the Tennis Center (500 South Frontage Rd). Additional $10 parking is available at the Vail Athletic/Soccer Field lot.
WALKING DIRECTIONS FROM THE VAIL VILLAGE PARKING STRUCTURE:
Via Gore Creek Trail: 15-minute scenic walk
1. Exit the parking garage by following the Pedestrian Exit signs towards “Vail Village” / “Golden Peak”
2. Turn left out of the parking garage onto East Meadow Drive and head east
3. At the end of the road turn right on Vail Valley Drive and cross the road
4. Turn left on the walking path before the bridge, following the street signs towards "Ford Park"
5. Continuing east, follow the walking path along Gore Creek until reaching the GRFA
Via Frontage Road: 15-minute walk
1. From the top level of the parking garage, exit onto the South Frontage Road
2. Turn right and follow the sidewalk east along the south side of the frontage road
3. Cross East Meadow Drive and continue east along the sidewalk
4. Turn right after passing The Wren at Vail on the right
5. Continue down the path down to the GRFA
How long do concerts last?
Concerts generally last 2 hours including intermission. Please call the box office 877.812.5700 for exact running times.
How do I buy tickets?
Tickets, passes, and gift certificates may be ordered in the following ways:
1. Online: bravovail.org
2. By phone: 877.812.5700
3. In person: Bravo! Vail 2271 N Frontage Rd W Suite C, Vail, CO 81657
Bravo! Vail accepts American Express, Visa, MasterCard, and Discover credit cards, cash, and checks. There is a $2 fee per ticket. Tickets are delivered by mail or email,or may be picked up at the Box Office.
What are the Box Office hours?
Bravo! Vail Box Office hours are Monday-Friday from 9AM to 4PM. During the Festival, hours include Saturday & Sunday from 10AM to 4PM. The Bravo! Vail Box Office can be reached at 877.812.5700.
The Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater box office is open from 11AM until concert start time (5PM on days with no concerts) during the Festival. Tickets for upcoming performances may be purchased on-site at the GRFA before concerts and during intermission.
Where is the Will Call window?
Will Call tickets may be picked up at the Box Office located to the right of the main GRFA entrance lobby. The Box Office is open 11AM to concert start time during the Festival.
Does Bravo! Vail offer group pricing?
Discounts for groups of 15 or more are available for select concerts. Please call 970.827.4316 for more information.
What if I buy tickets and cannot attend?
Tickets are non-refundable. You may exchange your tickets ($7 fee per ticket) by calling the Box Office at 877.812.5700 up to 2 days before the concert. You may release your tickets or leave them for a friend at Will Call by calling the Box Office.
What if I misplace or forget to bring my tickets?
There is no charge to reprint tickets. Please call 877.812.5700 before 3PM on the day of the performance or allow extra time to request new tickets at the Will Call window.
Where are seating options for people with disabilities?
Per the American Disability Act (ADA), the Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater is accessible to individuals with disabilities. ADA seating is available in Section 1 Row L and Section 4 Row O in all reserved seating zones and prices (Premium Aisle, Premium, Reserved, and Saver). A limited number of ADA General Admission Lawn seats are available for sale behind Section 2. You must have a designated ADA lawn seat ticket to sit in this area. By purchasing an ADA seat, you are stating that you require an ADA seat. If purchased fraudulently, you may be subject to relocation. If you need assistance purchasing ADA seating, please call the Box Office at 877.812.5700.
What if it rains?
Concerts take place rain or shine. The GRFA is an open-air venue. Refunds are not given due to weather unless a concert is canceled in its entirety with no performance rescheduled.
What should I wear?
There is no dress code for concerts. Please be prepared for rain and cooler temperatures.
What should I bring to the concert?
If you will be on the lawn, a blanket, sunglasses, and a hat are recommended. If rain is predicted, please bring appropriate rain gear. Food, commercially sealed non-alcoholic beverages, low-profile lawn chairs, and umbrellas are permitted at concerts. All backpacks, bags, purses, picnic baskets, and coolers will be checked upon entry.
The following articles are not allowed at the venue: cameras, audio/video recording devices, standard-height lawn chairs, baby strollers, alcoholic beverages, firearms, pets, smoking, skateboards, bicycles, scooters, and skates.
What food and beverages are available for purchase at the GRFA?
Concessions are offered for purchase inside the venue. Menu items include snacks, burgers, sandwiches, and salads. A full bar is also available. All major credit cards and cash are accepted for payment. If you have a pavilion seat, please eat prior to the concert or at intermission.
Are lawn chairs available to rent?
Low-profile lawn chairs are available at the GRFA to rent for $10. You may also rent a lawn chair with your lawn ticket purchase online or by calling the Bravo! Vail Box Office at 877.812.5700. To reserve a lawn chair in advance, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
What are some general rules of concert etiquette?
Please allow time for parking and seating. Concert attendees must silence all mobile devices prior to performances to not disrupt musicians and other patrons. Please limit conversations and other noisy activities during the performance. In the pavilion seating, we recommend eating prior to the concert or at intermission. Parental supervision is required for all children attending Bravo! Vail concerts.
What else should I know?
Vail’s high elevation requires adequate hydration and sun protection. Visitors from lower elevations may experience altitude sickness.
What if I lose something at the concert?
Check with the GRFA box office for lost items at intermission or call 970.748.8497.
What if I still have questions?
Please contact the Box Office at 877.812.5700 Mon–Fri 9AM–4PM (and Sat–Sun 10AM-4PM during the Festival).