Bravo! Vail’s symphony season concludes with an irresistible evening featuring Ravel’s darkly tragic Concerto for the Left Hand followed by the magic of Scheherazade - full of love, intrigue, and adventure.
NEW YORK PHILHARMONIC
HANS GRAF, CONDUCTOR
LOUIS LORTIE, PIANO
DEBUSSY/ORCH. RAVEL: Sarabande et Danse
RAVEL: Piano Concerto for the Left Hand
DEBUSSY/ORCH. RAVEL: SARABANDE ET DANSE
Sarabande (1894) et Danse (1890)
CLAUDE DEBUSSY (1862-1918)
ORCHESTRATED (1922) BY MAURICE RAVEL (1875-1937)
Debussy modeled his Sarabande of 1894 after the old dance that had emigrated to Spain from its birthplace in Mexico in the 16th century. Debussy said that his piece, with its parallel harmonies and pseudo-archaic style, was “in the tempo of a Sarabande, that is to say with a slow serious elegance, rather like an old portrait, or a memory of the Louvre.”
Around 1890, Debussy wrote a little piano piece with the curious title Tarantelle Styrienne, since it is neither an Italian dance nor related to the Austrian province of Styria. It was among the earliest of his music to be published, appearing along with four other short keyboard works in 1890. When the work was reissued in 1903 he changed the name to simply Danse.
RAVEL: PIANO CONCERTO FOR THE LEFT HAND
Piano Concerto for the Left Hand (1929-1930)
Maurice Ravel made a triumphant tour of America as pianist and conductor in 1928. Plans were begun almost immediately for a second foray into the New World, and he started work on a piano concerto in 1929 that was to be the centerpiece of the venture. While he was at work on what became the Concerto in G, however, he was asked to compose another concerto by the pianist Paul Wittgenstein, brother of the eminent Austrian philosopher, Ludwig, who was determined to continue his concert career despite the loss of his right arm during the First World War. Wittgenstein had transcribed several piano works for left hand alone and commissioned new pieces from some of the era’s most distinguished composers, including Strauss, Prokofiev, Britten, Hindemith and Korngold. Ravel, intrigued by Wittgenstein’s sincerity and the challenge of the project, accepted the proposal.
The Left Hand Concerto is in three sections. The opening rises from a barely audible rumbling of the lowest instruments during which two thematic cells are presented: the first, with its snapping rhythmic figures, is intoned by the contrabassoon; the second is a smooth melody presented by the horns. The two themes are interwoven to achieve a climax from the full orchestra after which the soloist emerges with a cadenza based on the snapping-rhythm theme. Most of the remainder of the opening section is given over to further orchestral elaborations of this melody. The central, “jazzy” section is driving in rhythm and brilliantly brittle in sonority. A scherzo-like strain and a cheeky tune piped by the high woodwinds are followed by the recall of the smooth melody of the beginning, here entrusted to the solo bassoon and then solo trombone. The jaunty scherzo resumes, but is brought to a sudden halt by a silence and the return of the snapping opening theme for full orchestra. A cadenza and closing flourishes from the orchestra bring this masterwork of Ravel’s maturity to a powerful conclusion.
Scheherazade, Op. 35 (1888)
NIKOLAI RIMSKY-KORSAKOV (1844-1908)
“In the middle of the winter [of 1888], engrossed as I was in my work on Prince Igor and other things, I conceived the idea of writing an orchestral composition on the subject of certain episodes from Scheherazade.” Thus did Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov give the curt explanation of the genesis of his well-known work in his autobiography, My Musical Life. His friend Alexander Borodin had died the year before, leaving his magnum opus, the opera Prince Igor, in a state of unfinished disarray. Rimsky-Korsakov had taken it upon himself to complete the piece, and may well have been inspired by its exotic setting among the Tartar tribes in 12th-century central Asia to undertake his own embodiment of musical Orientalism. The stories on which he based his orchestral work were taken from The Thousand and One Nights, a collection of millennium-old fantasy tales from Egypt, Persia and India that had been gathered together, translated into French, and published in many installments by Antoine Galland beginning in 1704.
To refresh the listener’s memory of the ancient legends, Rimsky-Korsakov prefaced the score with these words: “The sultan Shakriar, convinced of the falsehood and inconstancy of all women, had sworn an oath to put to death each of his wives after the first night. However, the sultana Scheherazade saved her life by arousing his interest in the tales she told him during 1,001 nights. Driven by curiosity, the sultan postponed her execution from day to day, and at last abandoned his sanguinary design.” To each of the four movements Rimsky gave a title: The Sea and Sinbad’s Ship, The Story of the Kalandar Prince, The Young Prince and the Young Princess and Festival at Baghdad–The Sea–Shipwreck. At first glance, these titles seem definite enough to lead the listener to specific chapters of Scheherazade’s nightly soap opera. On closer examination, however, they prove too vague to be of much help. The Kalandar Prince, for instance, could be any one of three noblemen who dress as members of the Kalandars, a sect of wandering dervishes, and tell three different tales. “I meant these hints,” advised the composer, “to direct but slightly the hearer’s fancy on the path which my own fancy had traveled, and leave more minute and particular conceptions to the will and mood of each listener. All I had desired was that the hearer should carry away the impression that it is beyond doubt an Oriental narrative of some numerous and varied fairy-tale wonders.”
Known for his wide range of repertoire and creative programming, the distinguished Austrian conductor Hans Graf is one of today's most highly respected musicians.
French Canadian pianist Louis Lortie has extended his interpretative voice across a broad range of repertoire rather than choosing to specialize in one particular style.
Known for his wide range of repertoire and creative programming, the distinguished Austrian conductor Hans Graf is one of today's most highly respected musicians.
Appointed Music Director of the Houston Symphony in 2001, Mr. Graf concluded his tenure in May 2013 and is the longest serving Music Director in the orchestra’s history. Prior to his appointment in Houston, he was the Music Director of the Calgary Philharmonic for eight seasons and held the same post with the Orchestre National Bordeaux Aquitaine for six years. He also led the Salzburg Mozarteum Orchestra from 1984 to 1994 and the Basque National Orchestra from 1994 to 1996.
Hans Graf is a frequent guest with all of the major North American orchestras. His recent and upcoming guest engagements include appearances with the Cleveland and Philadelphia Orchestras, the New York and Los Angeles Philharmonics, the Boston, San Francisco, St. Louis, Cincinnati, National, Detroit, Dallas, Baltimore, Indianapolis, New Jersey, Milwaukee, Colorado and Utah symphonies, as well as the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra among others.
Mr. Graf made his Carnegie Hall debut with the Houston Symphony in January 2006 and returned to Carnegie leading the Orchestra of St. Luke's in March 2007. He and the Houston Symphony were re-invited to appear at Carnegie Hall in January 2010, at which time they presented the New York premiere of The Planets – An HD Odyssey, featuring the orchestra playing Holst’s famous work, The Planets, accompanied by exclusive high definition images from NASA’s exploration of the solar system. Mr. Graf and the Houston Symphony returned to Carnegie Hall again in May 2012 to participate in Carnegie’s Spring for Music festival with an all-Shostakovich program.
In Europe, Mr. Graf has conducted the Vienna and London Philharmonics, Vienna Symphony, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra and Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra as well as the St. Petersburg Philharmonic, Deutsches Symphony Orchestra Berlin, Bavarian Radio Orchestra, Rotterdam Philharmonic, Budapest Festival Orchestra, Dresden Philharmonic, Danish Radio Symphony Orchestra and the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic among others. He is also a regular guest with the Sydney Symphony and the Hong Kong, Malaysia and Seoul Philharmonics.
In October 2010, Mr. Graf led the Houston Symphony on a tour of the UK which included two performances at the Barbican in London with additional performances in Birmingham, Edinburgh, Leeds and Manchester. And in June 2012, the Houston Symphony, led by Mr. Graf, was the first major American orchestra to appear at the Festival of World Symphony Orchestras in Moscow, presenting two programs which included Bruckner 9, the Russian premiere of John Adams’ Doctor Atomic Symphony, and the first performance in Russia by an American orchestra of Shostakovich Symphony No. 11.
During the summer of 2013, Mr. Graf returned to the Salzburg Festival for three different programs, which included conducting a new work by Austrian composer Gerhard Wimberger with the Mozarteum Orchestra and an unusual, multi-media TV production of Mozart’s The Abduction From the Seraglio with the Camerata Salzburg. He has also appeared at other prestigious European festivals such as the Maggio Musicale, Bregenz and Aix en Provence. His US festival appearances include Tanglewood and the Aspen Music Festival, where he returns in the summer of 2017, as well as the Blossom Music Festival, Bravo! Vail Valley Music Festival and the Grant Park Music Festival in downtown Chicago.
An experienced opera conductor, Mr. Graf first conducted the Vienna State Opera in 1981 and has since led productions in the opera houses of Berlin, Munich, Paris and Rome among others. His extensive opera repertoire includes several world premieres. Recent opera engagements include Parsifal at the Zurich Opera, Boris Godunov at the Opera National du Rhin in Strasbourg, and a rarely produced opera by Strauss, Die Feuersnot, at the famed Volksoper Vienna, for which he received the 2014 Austrian Music Theatre Prize.
Hans Graf has recorded for the EMI, Orfeo, CBC, Erato, Capriccio and JVC labels and his extensive discography includes the complete symphonies of Mozart and Schubert, the premiere recording of Zemlinsky's opera Es war einmal and the complete orchestral works of Dutilleux, which he recorded under the supervision of the composer, with the Orchestre National Bordeaux Aquitaine for BMG Arte Nova. His recordings with the Houston Symphony include Bartok’s Wooden Prince for Koch International; Zemlinsky’s Lyric Symphony, Berg’s Three Pieces from the Lyric Suite and Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erdefor Naxos; and a DVD of The Planets – An HD Odyssey, available through the Houston Symphony. His recent recordings are the complete works by Paul Hindemith for viola and orchestra with Tabea Zimmermann and the Deutsches Symphony Orchestra Berlin and a live recording of Carmina Burana with the London Philharmonic Orchestra. In addition, a recording of a live performance of Wozzeck with the Houston Symphony was released by Naxos in the spring of 2017 and was awarded the 2017 ECHO Klassik prize for best opera recording in the category of 20th and 21st century opera.
Born near Linz, Hans Graf first studied violin and piano. After receiving diplomas in piano and conducting from the Musikhochschule in Graz, he continued his studies in Italy with Franco Ferrara and Sergui Celibadache and in Russia with Arvid Jansons. Mr. Graf has been awarded the Chevalier de l'Ordre de la Legion d'Honneur by the French government for championing French music around the world as well as the Grand Decoration of Honour in Gold for Services to the Republic of Austria. He is also Professor Emeritus for Orchestral Conducting at the Universitat Mozarteum in Salzburg.
French Canadian pianist Louis Lortie has extended his interpretative voice across a broad range of repertoire rather than choosing to specialize in one particular style. The London Times has identified the artist’s “combination of total spontaneity and meditated ripeness that only great pianists have”.
He is in demand internationally. In 2017-2018, he is Artist in Residence of the Shanghai Symphony and performs four different programs with them throughout the season. He performs with the OSESP Sao Paulo and the complete Liszt “Annees de Pelerinage” in recital for them. In Australia, Mr. Lortie performs with WASO/Perth and with the Adelaide Symphony. He performs Liszt “Annees” for the Chicago Symphony and for the annual Liszt Festival in Raiding, Hungary. There will be two Lortie recitals at London’s Wigmore Hall and an extensive recital tour in Italy. He performs and records with Sir Andrew Davis and the BBC Symphony, was selected by Jaap Van Zweden to play Mozart K466 for one of Mr. Van Zweden’s final Dallas Symphony concerts as Music Director. He returns to the National Symphony Taipei, the Philadelphia Orchestra with Nezet-Seguin, the Toronto Symphony, Budapest Philharmonic, Detroit Symphony and the New York Philharmonic. His play/conduct engagements are with great orchestras world-wide.
Louis Lortie’s long-awaited LacMus International Festival on Lake Como, Italy, made its debut July 9-16, 2017.
He has made more than 45 recordings for the Chandos label, covering repertoire from Mozart to Stravinsky, including a set of the complete Beethoven sonatas and the complete Liszt “Annees de Pelerinage”, which was named one of the ten best recordings of 2012 by the New Yorker Magazine. His recording of the Lutosławski Piano Concerto with Edward Gardner and the BBC Symphony received high praise, as did a recent Chopin recording (he is recording all of Chopin’s solo piano music for Chandos), which was named one of the best recordings of the year by the New York Times. Recently released recordings are Chopin Waltzes (“This is Chopin playing of sublime genius”- Fanfare Magazine), Saint Saens’ Africa, Wedding Cake, and Carnival of the Animals with Neeme Jarvi and the Bergen Philharmonic, and Rachmaninov’s complete works for two pianos with Helene Mercier. Future recordings are Poulenc works for piano and orchestra with the BBC Philharmonic, Faure piano works, and Scriabin piano works. For the Onyx label, he has recorded two acclaimed CDs with violinist Augustin Dumay.
Mr. Lortie is the Master in Residence at The Queen Elisabeth Music Chapel of Brussels. He studied in Montreal with Yvonne Hubert (a pupil of the legendary Alfred Cortot), in Vienna with Beethoven specialist Dieter Weber, and subsequently with Schnabel disciple Leon Fleisher. In 1984, he won First Prize in the Busoni Competition and was also prizewinner at the Leeds Competition. Mr. Lortie is a citizen of Canada and has homes in Montreal, Berlin and Italy.
Photo: Elias Photography
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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 email@example.com
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).