A brilliantly colorful violin concerto serves as the centerpiece of this beautifully balanced program, bookended by two powerful Beethoven works, each bursting with taut vitality and dazzling spirit.
ACADEMY OF ST MARTIN IN THE FIELDS
JOSHUA BELL, DIRECTOR & VIOLIN
BEETHOVEN: Coriolan Overture
SAINT-SAËNS: Violin Concerto No. 3
BEETHOVEN: Symphony No. 4
BEETHOVEN: CORIOLAN OVERTURE
Overture to Coriolanus, Op. 62 (1807)
LUDWIG VAN BEETHOVEN (1770-1827)
This Overture was inspired by, rather than composed for, the tragedy Coriolanus (1802) by Heinrich Joseph von Collin (1771-1811), a jurist, poet and, from 1809, court councilor who enjoyed much theatrical success in Vienna with this play. The play’s story, which may be either fact or fable, tells of Gaius Marcius, a patrician Roman general of extraordinary bravery who led the Roman armies to a great triumph over the Volscians, the people of the hill country south of Rome. For capturing their city of Corioli, he received the honorary name of Coriolanus. His return to Rome found him embroiled in the conflict between patricians and plebeians, the latter claiming insufferable oppression. The aristocratic Coriolanus so vilified the populace that the senate, yielding to plebeian pressure, voted for his permanent exile. So bitter and vengeful did he become that he went to the conquered Volscians, swore allegiance to them, and offered to lead them against Rome. He besieged the city, rejecting all ambassadors until his mother and his wife came to entreat him to abandon his wrathful revenge. They subdued his bitter arrogance and pride, and he withdrew the Volscians, who then turned against him. In Shakespeare’s version, he is slain by them; in Collin’s adaptation, he commits suicide. The Overture opens with stern unison notes in the strings punctuated by slashing chords from the full orchestra. A restless, foreboding figure of unsettled rhythmic character constitutes the main theme. The second theme is a lyrical melody, greatly contrasting with the preceding measures, but not immune from their agitated expectancy. The tempestuous development section derives its mood and material from the main theme. The recapitulation recalls the opening gestures and the second theme. A lengthy coda pits the lyrical melody against the imperious statement. The final outburst of the unison gesture spread across the full orchestra represents the dramatic denouement and the extinction of Coriolanus’ awful pride. The Overture dies away amid sighs and silence.
BRUCH: SCOTTISH FANTASY FOR VIOLIN AND ORCHESTRA
Violin Concerto No. 3 in B minor, Op. 61 (1880)
CAMILLE SAINT-SAËNS (1835-1921)
Saint-Saëns’ art is one of beauty, of precision, of formal perfection that he never intended to plumb great emotional depths. It is the musical equivalent of a Fabergé jeweled egg or a Tiffany stained glass window — a flawless realization by a master craftsman, civilized, polished, full of reason and truly beautiful. The Third Violin Concerto, one of the happiest inspirations to flow from Saint-Saëns’ pen, is a fine example of his elegant style, and the most popular of his three works in the form.
The Concerto opens with a presentation of the main theme by the soloist above a tremulous rumble in the strings and timpani. This theme gathers intensity amid the refined figurations of the violin, and leads to a lyrical contrasting melody. A compact development of the main theme occupies the center of the movement. Saint-Saëns, always careful with the balance of his forms, begins the recapitulation with the lyrical second theme since the main theme exclusively had been used in the just heard development. This also allows the main theme to be held in reserve to provide the movement with a vigorous conclusion. The second movement is a sweet barcarolle of simple but suave melodic character. The finale begins with a Gypsy-inspired flourish from the soloist as introduction. The pace then quickens for the fleet main theme. Two contrasting melodies, one heroic, the other prayerful, are presented for variety. A short connecting passage ushers in the recapitulation of all the themes: Gypsy introduction, fleet main theme, heroic contrasting theme. The prayerful theme is treated boldly on its second appearance as a majestic hymn for brass chorale. The tempo freshens for the final dash to the end.
BEETHOVEN: SYMPHONY NO. 4
Symphony No. 4 in B-flat major, Op. 60 (1806)
LUDWIG VAN BEETHOVEN (1770 -1827)
On November 13, 1805 Napoleon’s army entered Vienna. They withdrew early the next year, but their presence spoiled the premiere of Beethoven’s Fidelio on November 22nd. The opera, extensively revised, was presented again on March 29, 1806, but its reception was still cool. Beethoven spent the following summer away from Vienna, during which he met Count Franz von Oppersdorf, an admirer of his music. Oppersdorf commissioned him to write a new symphony, so he put aside the Symphony No. 5, already well advanced, and composed the Fourth Symphony during September and October 1806.
Sweetness subtly tinged with Romantic pathos opens the Fourth Symphony. The main theme is a buoyant tune given by the violins; the complementary melody is a snappy theme discussed by woodwinds. Inventive elaborations of the main theme occupy the development before the earlier melodies are recapitulated. Of the Adagio, Hector Berlioz wrote, “Its form is so pure and the expression of its melody so angelic and of such irresistible tenderness that the prodigious art by which this perfection is attained disappears completely.” Beethoven called the third movement a minuet, but it is really one of his most boisterous scherzos. The outer sections, with their rugged syncopations, sudden harmonic and dynamic shifts and tossing-about of melodic fragments, stand in strong contrast to the suave central trio. The finale is a whirlwind sonata form with occasional moments of strong expression in the development section.
With a career spanning more than 30 years, chamber musician, recording artist and conductor, Academy of St Martin in the Fields Music Director Joshua Bell is one of the most celebrated violinists of his era.
With a career spanning more than 30 years as a soloist, chamber musician, recording artist and conductor, Joshua Bell is one of the most celebrated violinists of his era. An exclusive Sony Classical artist, he has recorded more than 40 CDs garnering Grammy, Mercury, Gramophone and Echo Klassik awards, and is a recipient of the Avery Fisher Prize, as well as the Lumiere Prize for his work in the sphere of Virtual Reality. Named the Music Director of the Academy of St Martin in the Fields in 2011, he is the only person to hold this post since Sir Neville Marriner formed the orchestra in 1958, and recently renewed his contract through 2020. In 2016, Sony released Bell’s album For the Love of Brahms with the Academy of St Martin in the Fields, cellist Steven Isserlis and pianist Jeremy Denk, followed in 2017 by the Joshua Bell Classical Collection, a 14 CD set of Bell’s Sony recording highlights from the past 20 years.
Summer 2017 saw Joshua Bell perform at the BBC Proms with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, at the Verbier Festival, as Artist In Residence at the Edinburgh International Festival and – in the US - at Tanglewood, Ravinia, and the Mostly Mozart Festival. In the 2017/18 season in the US, Bell takes part in the New York Philharmonic’s celebration of Leonard Bernstein’s centennial, performing Bernstein’s Serenade led by Alan Gilbert, and also appears with the Philadelphia Orchestra and Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra among others. His North American recital tours take him to Carnegie Hall, Chicago’s Symphony Center and Washington D.C.’s Strathmore Center. Highlights in Europe include appearances as soloist with the Vienna Symphony and Danish National Symphony; as director and soloist with the Orchestre National de Lyon; and recitals in Paris, Zurich, Geneva, Bologna, Milan and London. With the Academy of St Martin in the Fields he will tour widely including in the United Kingdom, United States and Europe, featuring performances in London, New York, San Francisco, Reykjavik and at the Elbphilharmonie in Hamburg.
Convinced of the value of music as a diplomatic and educational tool, Bell participated in President Obama’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities’ first cultural mission to Cuba. He is also involved in Turnaround Arts, another project implemented by the Committee and the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts which provides arts education to low-performing elementary and middle schools.
Joshua Bell performs on the 1713 Huberman Stradivarius violin and uses a late 18th century French bow by François Tourte.
Photo: Lisa-Marie Mazzucco
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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).