The “strikingly imaginative” (Boston Globe) Nicholas Angelich makes his Vail debut with one of Beethoven’s greatest creations, and Mahler’s nature-inspired melodies reach to the heavens for a truly out-of-this-world experience.
THE PHILADELPHIA ORCHESTRA
STÉPHANE DENÈVE, CONDUCTOR
NICHOLAS ANGELICH, PIANO
BEETHOVEN: Piano Concerto No. 5,“Emperor”
MAHLER: Symphony No. 1, "Titan"
BEETHOVEN: PIANO CONCERTO NO. 5, "EMPEROR"
Piano Concerto No. 5 in E-flat major, Op. 73, “Emperor” (1809)
LUDWIG VAN BEETHOVEN (1770-1827)
The year 1809 was a difficult one for Vienna and for Beethoven. In May, Napoleon invaded the city with enough firepower to send the residents scurrying and Beethoven into the basement of his brother’s house. The bombardment was close enough that he covered his sensitive ears with pillows to protect them from the concussion of the blasts. On July 29th, he wrote to the publisher Breitkopf und Härtel, “We have passed through a great deal of misery. What a disturbing, wild life around me; nothing but drums, cannons, men, misery of all sorts.” Austria’s finances were in shambles, and the annual stipend Beethoven had been promised by several noblemen who supported his work was considerably reduced in value, placing him in a precarious pecuniary predicament. As a sturdy tree can root in flinty soil, however, a great musical work grew from those unpromising circumstances — by the end of 1809 Beethoven had completed his “Emperor” Concerto.
The sobriquet “Emperor” attached itself to the E-flat Concerto very early, though it was not of Beethoven’s doing. The name may have been tacked on by an early publisher or pianist because of the grand character of the work, or it may have originated with the purported exclamation during the premiere by a French officer at one particularly noble passage, “C’est l’Empereur!” The most likely explanation, however, is that the Viennese premiere took place at a celebration of the Emperor’s birthday.
The Concerto opens with broad chords for orchestra answered by piano before the main theme is announced by the violins. The following orchestral tutti embraces a variety of secondary themes leading to a repeat of all the material by the piano accompanied by the orchestra. A development ensues with “the fury of a hail-storm,” wrote Sir Donald Tovey. A recapitulation of the themes and a cadenza close the movement. Sir George Grove dubbed the Adagio a sequence of “quasi-variations,” with the piano providing a coruscating filigree above the orchestral accompaniment. The slow movement leads directly into the finale, a vast rondo with sonata elements.
MAHLER: SYMPHONY NO. 1, "TITAN"
Symphony No. 1 in D major (1883-1888)
GUSTAV MAHLER (1860-1911)
Though he did not marry until 1902, Mahler had a healthy interest in the opposite sex, and at least three love affairs touch upon the First Symphony. In 1880, he conceived a short-lived but ferocious passion for Josephine Poisl, daughter of the postmaster in his boyhood home of Iglau, and she inspired from him three songs and a cantata after Grimm, Das klagende Lied (“Song of Lamentation”), which contributed thematic fragments to the Symphony. The second affair, early in 1884, ignited the composition of the work. Johanne Richter possessed a numbing musical mediocrity alleviated by a pretty face, and it was because of an infatuation with this singer at the Kassel Opera, where Mahler was then conducting, that not only the First Symphony but also the Songs of the Wayfarer sprang to life. The third liaison, in 1887, came as the Symphony was nearing completion. Mahler revived and reworked an opera by Carl Maria von Weber called Die drei Pintos (“The Three Pintos,” two being impostors of the title character) with the help of the grandson of that composer, also named Carl. During the almost daily contact with the Weber family necessitated by the preparation of the work, Mahler fell in love with Carl’s wife, Marion. He was serious enough to propose that he and Marion run away together, but at the last minute she had a change of heart and left Mahler standing, literally, at the train station. The emotional turbulence of those encounters found its way into the First Symphony, especially the finale, but, looking back in 1896, Mahler put these experiences into perspective. “The Symphony,” he wrote, “begins where the love affair [with Johanne] ends; it is based on the affair which preceded the Symphony in the emotional life of the composer. But the extrinsic experience became the occasion, not the message of the work.”
The Symphony begins with an evocation of verdant springtime. The movement’s main theme, which enters softly in the cellos, is based on the second of the Songs of a Wayfarer, Ging heut’ Morgen übers Feld (“I Crossed the Meadow this Morn”). The movement is largely given over to this theme combined with the spring sounds of the introduction. The second movement is a dressed-up version of the Austrian peasant dance known as the Ländler balanced by a gentle central trio. The third movement begins and ends with a lugubrious transformation of the French folk song Frére Jacques. The middle of the movement contains a melody marked “Mit Parodie” (played “col legno” by the strings, i.e., tapping with the wood rather than the hair of the bow), and a tender theme based on another of the Wayfarer songs, Die zwei blauen Augen (“The Two Blue Eyes”). The finale, according to Bruno Walter, conducting protégé of the composer, is filled with “raging vehemence.” The stormy character of the beginning is maintained for much of the movement. Throughout, themes from earlier movements are heard again, with the hunting calls of the introduction given prominence. The tempest is finally blown away by a blast from the horns to usher in the triumphant ending of the work.
Stéphane Denève is the Principal Guest Conductor of The Philadelphia Orchestra.
Born in the U.S., Nicholas Angelich began studying the piano at age five with his mother and in two years gave his first concert of Mozart’s Concerto K. 467.
Stéphane Denève is currently in his sixth season as principal guest conductor of The Philadelphia Orchestra. He spends multiple weeks each year with the ensemble, conducting subscription, tour, and summer concerts. Mr. Denève has become very well known to audiences at Verizon Hall, the Mann Center, the Saratoga Performing Arts Center, and the Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater in Vail, having appeared as guest conductor numerous times since making his debut in 2007. He has led more programs than any other guest conductor during that time period, in repertoire that has spanned more than 100 works, ranging from Classical through the contemporary, including presentations with dance, theater, film, and cirque performers.
He is also the Music Director of the Brussels Philharmonic and the St. Louis Symphony 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 programmes 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.
Photo credit: Bart Dewaele
Born in the United States in 1970, Nicholas Angelich began studying the piano at five with his mother. At the age of seven, he gave his first concert with Mozart’s Concerto K. 467. He entered at 13 the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique in Paris where he studied with Aldo Ciccolini, Yvonne Loriod, Michel Beroff and Marie Françoise Bucquet. He won the First Prize for piano and chamber music.
Nicholas Angelich followed master-classes with Leon Fleisher, Dmitri Bashkirov, and Maria Joao Pires. In 1989 he won the Second Prize of the International Piano Competition R. Casadesus in Cleveland and in 1994 the First Prize of the International Piano Competition Gina Bachauer. In 1996 he was invited as a resident of the International Piano Foundation of Cadennabia (Italy). In 2002 he received the “International Klavierfestival Ruhr - Young Talent Award” (Germany) from Leon Fleischer where he performed in June 2003.
He made his debuts in May 2003 with the New-York Philharmonic under Kurt Masur at the Lincoln Center in New-York. Valdimir Jurowski invited him to open with him the 2007/08 season of the Russian National Orchestra in Moscow.
He also performed with the Orchestre National de France under Marc Minkowski and Joseph Pons, Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France and Paavo Järvi, Orchestre National de Lyon and David Robertson, Orchestre Philharmonique de Monte-Carlo under Jesus Lopez-Cobos and Kenneth Montgomery, Saint-Petersbourg Symphony under Alexandre Dimitriev, Strasbourg and Montpellier orchestras under Jerzy Semkow, Toulouse Orchestra under Jaap van Zweden in Amsterdam and Yannick Nezet-Sequin in San Sebastian, the Orchestre de chambre de Lausanne and Christian Zacharias, the SWR Baden-Baden orchestra and Michael Gielen, the Francfort Radio orchestra under Hugh Wolff and Paavo Jarvi, the Swiss-Italian Radio Orchestra and Charles Dutoit, the Tonkünstler Orchester and K. Järvi, the Seoul Philharmonic under M.-W. Chung, the London Philharmonic under Kazuchi Ono and Vladimir Jurowsky, as well as recitals in London, Munich, Geneva, Amsterdam, Brussels, Luxembourg, Rome, Lisbon, Brescia, Tokyo, Paris. He is a regular guest of the Verbier Festival and Martha Argerich’s festival in Lugano.
Recent engagements include concerts with the Rotterdam Philharmonic, the Orchestre Métropolitain de Montréal and Y. Nezet-Seguin, the Montreal Symphony, Atlanta Symphony (E. Krivine), Seoul Philharmonic (M.-W. Chung), Stuttgart Radio Orchestra and Roger Norrington, a tour with the London Philharmonic under V. Jurowski, and chamber music in North America with R. and G. Capuçon (New-York, San Francisco, Québec, Montréal, Ottawa…). He will make his debuts at the BBC Proms in July 2009 with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra and Y. Nezet-Seguin.
Great interpreter of classic and romantic repertoire, Nicholas Angelich played all Beethoven Sonatas and Liszt’s Années de Pélerinage in different countries. He is also very interested in 20th century music such as Rachmaninov, Prokofiev, Chostakovitch, Bartok, Ravel, as well as Messiaen, Stockhausen, Pierre Boulez, Eric Tanguy and Pierre Henry, who dedicated to him the Concerto for piano without orchestra.
Always enthusiastic about playing chamber music, his partners are Gautier and Renaud Capuçon, Maxim Vengerov, Akiko Suwanai, Dimitri Sitkovetsky, Joshua Bell, Julian Rachlin, Gérard Caussé, Alexander Kniazev, Jian Wang, Paul Meyer, the Ysaye, Prazak and Ebène Quartets.
Photo credit: Stéphane De Bourgies
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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).