Music Director Yannick Nézet-Séguin showcases the famously lush “Philadelphia Sound” with Brahms’s Chorale Preludes, and a pair of Bach organ works in ingenious arrangements by the legendary Leopold Stokowski. Brahms's glorious Symphony No. 2, with its pastoral themes and joyful intensity, closes the evening on a festive, celebratory note.
THE PHILADELPHIA ORCHESTRA
YANNICK NÉZET-SÉGUIN, CONDUCTOR
BRAHMS/GLANERT: Transcriptions of Chorale Preludes
BACH/STOKOWSKI: Passacaglia and Fugue in C minor
BACH/STOKOWSKI: Toccata and Fugue in D minor
BRAHMS: Symphony No. 2
BRAHMS/GLANERT: TRANSCRIPTIONS OF CHORALE PRELUDES
Selections from Eleven Chorale Preludes, Op. 122
JOHANNES BRAHMS (1833-1897)
ARRANGED BY DETLEV GLANERT (B. 1960)
Early in his life, as a counterpoint student in 1858, Brahms wrote three fugues and a Chorale Prelude and Fugue on the old German hymn O Traurigkeit, O Herzeleid (“O Sorrow, O Heartache”) for organ, but then composed no more music for the organ until the last months of his life. The death of Clara Schumann on May 20, 1896, the dearest person in his life, took a heavy toll on Brahms, already seriously ill with liver cancer, and his friends fretted over his declining health. Perhaps as a memorial to Clara, he created a series of Chorale Preludes for organ on several well-known German hymns, and it proved to be the last music he wrote. The eleven Chorale Preludes, based on melodies borrowed from the Lutheran tradition, are among the few examples of that genre by a major 19th-century composer. Jesu mein, der du mich zum Lustspiel ewiglich (“My Jesus, who delights me forever”) is based on an anonymous late-17th century melody that Brahms borrowed from a hymnal he had used early in his life. The melody for Herzlich tut mich verlangen (“My heart is ever yearning”) was written in 1601 by Hans Leo Hassler, and the words by Christian Knoll twelve years later. The theme is also familiar with the text O Haupt voll Blut und Wunden (“O head crowned with blood and wounds”) as the so-called “Passion Chorale” from Bach’s St. Matthew Passion. The Prelude based on Heinrich Isaac’s 1495 O Welt, ich muss dich lassen (“O world, I now must leave thee”) was, appropriately, Brahms’ last addition to his artistic legacy.
BACH/STOKOWSKI: PASSACAGLIA AND FUGUE IN C MINOR
Passacaglia and Fugue in C minor, BWV 582 (ca. 1710)
JOHANN SEBASTIAN BACH (1685-1750)
ARRANGED BY LEOPOLD STOKOWSKI (1882-1977)
Bach was appointed to his first important position in 1708 as organist and chamber musician to Duke Wilhelm Ernst of Weimar, an enlightened ruler who not only professed his Lutheran religion but also lived it, promoting the education and well-being of his subjects, and engaging in frequent philanthropy. Sometime before leaving his Weimar post in 1717, Bach wrote his only Passacaglia and Fugue, the former genre based on a short, recurring melodic pattern derived from a popular dance form that originated in the city barrios of Spain in the late 16th century.
BACH/STOKOWSKI: TOCCATA AND FUGUE IN D MINOR
Toccata and Fugue in D minor, BWV 565 (ca. 1708)
JOHANN SEBASTIAN BACH (1685-1750)
ARRANGED BY LEOPOLD STOKOWSKI (1882-1977)
The magnificent Toccata and Fugue in D minor, written soon after Bach’s appointment at Weimar, juxtaposes two of Baroque music’s least-related forms. The genre of the toccata was essentially a written-down improvisation whose history traces back to Italy almost two centuries before Bach. The fugue, on the other hand, is music’s most tightly integrated structure, growing from a single theme that threads through each of the voices and dominates the seamless piece from beginning to end.
BRAHMS: SYMPHONY NO. 2
Symphony No. 2 in D major, Op. 73 (1877)
JOHANNES BRAHMS (1833-1897)
In the summer of 1877, Brahms repaired to the village of Pörtschach in the Carinthian hills of southern Austria. He wrote to a Viennese friend, “Pörtschach is an exquisite spot, and I have found a lovely and apparently pleasant abode in the Castle! The place is replete with Austrian coziness and kindheartedness.” The lovely country surroundings inspired Brahms’ creativity to such a degree that he wrote to the critic Eduard Hanslick, “So many melodies fly about, one must be careful not to tread on them.” Brahms plucked from the gentle Pörtschach breezes a surfeit of beautiful music for his Second Symphony, which was written quickly during that summer.
The Symphony opens with a three-note motive, presented softly by the low strings, which is the germ seed from which much of the movement grows. The horns sing the principal subject, which includes the three-note motive; the sweet second theme is given by cellos and violas. The development begins with the horn’s main theme, but is mostly concerned with the three-note motive. The placid mood of the opening returns with the recapitulation.
The Adagio plumbs the deepest emotions in the Symphony. The movement covers a wide range of sentiments, shifting, as it does, between light and shade— major and minor. Its form is sonata-allegro, whose second theme is a gently syncopated strain intoned by the woodwinds above the cellos’ pizzicato notes. The Allegretto is a delightful musical sleight-ofhand. The oboe presents a naive, folk-like tune in moderate triple meter as the movement’s principal theme. The strings take over the melody in the first Trio, but play it in an energetic duple-meter transformation. The return of the sedate original theme is interrupted by another quick-tempo variation, this one a further development of motives from Trio I. A final traversal of the main theme closes this delectable movement.
The finale bubbles with rhythmic energy and high spirits. The main theme starts with a unison gesture in the strings, but soon becomes harmonically active and spreads through the orchestra; the second theme is a broad, hymnal melody. The development begins with a statement of the main theme in the tonic before branching into discussion of the movement’s motives. The recapitulation recalls the earlier themes, and leads through the triumphant coda to the brazen glow of the final trombone chord.
Yannick Nézet-Séguin is the music director for The Philadelphia Orchestra.
Music Director Yannick Nézet-Séguin will lead The Philadelphia Orchestra through at least the 2025-26 season, an extraordinary and significant long-term commitment. Additionally, he became the third music director in the history of the Metropolitan Opera, beginning with the 2018-19 season. This consolidates his professional activity around two of the world’s pre-eminent artistic organizations, concentrating and honing his musical future.
Nézet-Séguin, who holds the Walter and Leonore Annenberg Chair, is an inspired leader of The Philadelphia Orchestra. Widely recognized for his musicianship, dedication, and charisma, he has established himself as a musical leader of the highest caliber and one of the most thrilling talents of his generation. His intensely collaborative style, deeply rooted musical curiosity, and boundless enthusiasm, paired with a fresh approach to orchestral programming, have been heralded by critics and audiences alike. The New York Times has called him “phenomenal,” adding that under his baton, “the ensemble, famous for its glowing strings and homogenous richness, has never sounded better.”
Nézet-Séguin has taken The Philadelphia Orchestra to new musical heights in performances at home in the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts; at the Academy of Music, Carnegie Hall, and the Kennedy Center; in Philadelphia neighborhoods; and around the world. His concerts of diverse repertoire attract sold-out houses, and he continues to make connections within Philadelphia’s rich arts community, showing his commitment to engaging music lovers of all ages across the region. In his seventh season as music director, he launches exciting artistic initiatives, including the culmination of a multi-year celebration of the centenary of Leonard Bernstein’s birth with a symphonically staged production of Candide; Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet, featuring the athletic and inventive choreography of Philadelphia-based Brian Sanders; and the world premiere of Hannibal’s community commission Healing Tones.
Nézet-Séguin is embraced by the musicians of The Philadelphia Orchestra and by audiences wherever they perform. He made his inaugural tour with the Orchestra during the 2014 Tour of Asia and the following year led the ensemble on their first European tour together. In September 2015, he conducted the Orchestra in two performances for Pope Francis as part of the World Meeting of Families, at the Festival of Families and the Papal Mass. In 2016 and 2017, NézetSéguin and the Orchestra returned to Asia. In 2018, they toured Europe and Israel to much critical acclaim. “Music director and orchestra were once again able to display their astonishing symbiosis,” said Der Standard. And Ynet commented, “The connection between The Philadelphia Orchestra and its conductor, Yannick Nézet-Séguin, is truly incredible in its unmediated closeness.”
Under Nézet-Séguin’s leadership, the Orchestra returned to recording with a CD on the prestigious Deutsche Grammophon label of Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring and Leopold Stokowski transcriptions of works by Bach. Their second disc for the label, Rachmaninoff’s Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini with pianist Daniil Trifonov, was released in August 2015, and their third disc,
Bernstein’s MASS, was released in March 2018. In Nézet-Séguin’s inaugural season, the Orchestra returned to the radio airwaves, with weekly Sunday afternoon broadcasts on WRTI-FM. In 2017, they also began a national series on SiriusXM.
Nézet-Séguin has been artistic director and principal conductor of Montreal’s Orchestre Métropolitain since 2000, and in summer 2017 he became an honorary member of the Chamber Orchestra of Europe. He was music director of the Rotterdam Philharmonic from 2008 to 2018 (he is now the ensemble’s honorary conductor) and was principal guest conductor of the London Philharmonic from 2008 to 2014. He enjoys close collaborations with the Berlin Philharmonic, the Vienna Philharmonic, and the Bavarian Radio Symphony. He has also made wildly successful appearances with many of the world’s other most revered ensembles, including the Boston Symphony, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Staatskapelle Berlin, the Staatskapelle Dresden, the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, and all the major Canadian orchestras. Throughout Europe and North America, his appearances have left indelible marks on the international classical music scene, making him one of the most sought-after conductors in the world.
Nézet-Séguin’s talents extend beyond symphonic music into the world of opera and choral music. His critically acclaimed performances at New York’s Metropolitan Opera (where he has appeared annually since his debut in 2009, including the opening of the 2015 season), Milan’s La Scala, London’s Royal Opera House, the Vienna State Opera, Netherlands Opera, the Festspielhaus Baden-Baden, and the historic Salzburg Festival demonstrate that he is an artist of remarkable versatility and depth.
Nézet-Séguin and Deutsche Grammophon (DG) embarked on a major long-term collaboration in July 2012; he signed an exclusive contract with the label in May 2018. His upcoming recordings will include projects with The Philadelphia Orchestra, the Metropolitan Opera, the Chamber Orchestra of Europe, and the Orchestre Métropolitain, with which he will also continue to record for ATMA Classique. Additionally, he has recorded with the Rotterdam Philharmonic on DG, EMI Classics, and BIS Records, and the London Philharmonic for the LPO label.
A native of Montreal, Nézet-Séguin studied piano, conducting, composition, and chamber music at Montreal’s Conservatory of Music and continued his studies with renowned conductor Carlo Maria Giulini; he also studied choral conducting with Joseph Flummerfelt at Westminster Choir College.
Nézet-Séguin was appointed a Companion of the Order of Canada in 2012, one of the country’s highest civilian honors; Companion to the Order of Arts and Letters of Quebec in 2015; an Officer of the Order of Quebec in 2015; and an Officer of the Order of Montreal in 2017. His other honors include Musical America’s 2016 Artist of the Year, a Royal Philharmonic Society Award, Canada’s National Arts Centre Award, and the Prix Denise-Pelletier, the highest distinction for the arts awarded by the Quebec government. He has also received honorary doctorates from the University of Quebec in Montreal; the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia; Westminster Choir College of Rider University in Princeton, NJ; McGill University; the University of Montreal; and the University of Pennsylvania.
Photo credit: Hans Van Der Woerd
Need help planning your visit to the Vail Valley? We've got you covered- from travel recommendations, to lodging and dining options, we want your entire visit to be top notch.LEARN MORE
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).