The Fabulous Philadelphians offer a thrilling start to their Vail season, joined by an “extraordinarily intelligent, soulful and impassioned” (The Strad) superstar violinist and culminating with Dvořák’s joyfully exuberant portrait of Bohemian spirit.
THE PHILADELPHIA ORCHESTRA
STÉPHANE DENÈVE, CONDUCTOR
NIKOLAJ ZNAIDER, VIOLIN
BRAHMS: Violin Concerto
DVOŘÁK: Symphony No. 8
DENÈVE CONDUCTS BRAHMS & DVOŘÁK
Violin Concerto in D major, Op. 77 (1878)
JOHANNES BRAHMS (1833-1897)
“The healthy and ruddy colors of his skin indicated a love of nature and a habit of being in the open air in all kinds of weather; his thick straight hair of brownish color came nearly down to his shoulders. His clothes and boots were not of exactly the latest pattern, nor did they fit particularly well, but his linen was spotless.... [There was a] kindliness in his eyes ... with now and then a roguish twinkle in them which corresponded to a quality in his nature which would perhaps be best described as good-natured sarcasm.” So wrote Sir George Henschel (the singer and conductor who became the first Music Director of the Boston Symphony Orchestra) of his friend Johannes Brahms. At the time of the composition of his Violin Concerto, Brahms, at 45, was coming into the full efflorescence of his talent and fame. The twenty-year gestation of the First Symphony had finally ended in 1876, and the Second Symphony came easily only a year later. He was occupied with many songs and important chamber works during the mid-1870s, and the two greatest of his concertos, the B-flat for piano and the D major for violin, were both conceived in 1878 after the delicious experience of his first trip to Italy in April. That summer, he returned to the idyllic Austrian village of Pörtschach (site of the composition of the Second Symphony the previous year), where he composed the Violin Concerto for his old friend and musical ally, Joseph Joachim.
The first movement is constructed in Classical concerto form, with an orchestral introduction presenting much of the movement’s main thematic material before the entry of the soloist. The violin’s initial entry is anxious in mood and serves to heighten the serene majesty of the main theme when it is sung by the soloist upon its reappearance. A limpid, waltz-like melody serves as the second theme. The vigorous dotted-rhythm figure returns to close the exposition, with the development continuing the agitated mood of this closing theme. The recapitulation begins on a heroic wave of sound. The soloist’s cadenza serves as the bridge to the coda, which closes this masterful movement with a series of dignified cadential figures. The rapturous Adagio is based on a theme that the German composer Max Bruch said was derived from a Bohemian folk song. After the violin’s entry, the soloist is seldom confined to the exact notes of the theme, but rather weaves a rich embroidery around their melodic shape. The central section of the movement is cast in darker hues. The finale is an invigorating dance of Gypsy character in rondo form, with a scintillating tune in double stops as the recurring theme.
DVOŘÁK: SYMPHONY NO. 8
Symphony No. 8 in G major, Op. 88 (1889)
ANTONÍN DVOŘÁK (1841-1904)
You would probably have liked Dvořák. He was born a simple (in the best sense) man of the soil who retained a love of country, nature and peasant ways all his life. In his later years he wrote, “In spite of the fact that I have moved about in the great world of music, I shall remain what I have always been — a simple Czech musician.” Few passions ruffled his life — music, of course; the rustic pleasures of country life; the company of old friends; caring for his pigeons; and a child-like fascination with railroads. Milton Cross sketched him thus: “To the end of his days he remained shy, uncomfortable in the presence of those he regarded as his social superiors, and frequently remiss in his social behavior. He was never completely at ease in large cities, with the demands they made on him. He was happiest when he was close to the soil, raising pigeons, taking long, solitary walks in the hills and forests of the Bohemia he loved so deeply. Yet he was by no means a recluse. In the company of his intimate friends, particularly after a few beers, he was voluble, gregarious and good-humored.” His music reflects his salubrious nature, and the G major Symphony, composed during his annual summer country retreat at Vysoká, perfectly mirrors its creator.
Dvořák was absolutely profligate with themes in the Symphony’s opening movement. The first theme is presented without preamble in the rich hues of trombones, low strings and low woodwinds; the second theme is a chirruping melody for flute. The opening theme is recalled to initiate both the development and the recapitulation. The second movement contains two kinds of music, one hesitant and somewhat lachrymose, the other stately and smoothly flowing. The first is indefinite in tonality, rhythm and cadence. Its theme is a collection of fragments; its texture is sparse. The following section is greatly contrasted: its key is unambiguous; its rhythm and cadence points are clear; its melody is a long, continuous span. These two antitheses alternate, and the form of the movement is created as much by texture and sonority as by the traditional means of melody and tonality. The third movement is a lilting essay in the style of an Austrian folk dance, the Ländler. The trumpets herald the start of the finale, a theme and variations with a central section resembling a development in character.
Nikolaj Szeps-Znaider inaugurates his first season as Music Director of the Orchestre national de Lyon in September 2021.
Nikolaj Szeps-Znaider inaugurates his first season as Music Director of the Orchestre national de Lyon in September 2021. He conducted the Orchestra’s 2019/20 season opening concerts and together they toured Russia in February 2020. Szeps-Znaider is a regular guest conductor of the world’s leading orchestras, including the Chicago Symphony, Cleveland Orchestra, Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal, Bamberg Symphony and the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra.
Following an outstandingly successful debut conducting ‘Magic Flute’ at the Dresden Semperoper, Szeps-Znaider was immediately re-invited to conduct ‘Der Rosenkavalier’ at the House in Autumn 2019. This season he returns to Dresden Semperoper for a revival of ‘Der Rosenkavalier’ and makes his debut at the Royal Danish Opera conducting a new production of Magic Flute.
Also a virtuoso violinist, Szeps-Znaider maintains his reputation as one of the world’s leading exponents of the instrument with a busy calendar of concerto and recital engagements. During the 19/20 season he appeared as soloist with the Vienna Symphony Orchestra, Orchestre National de France and Konzerthausorcheter Berlin, and performed the complete Beethoven Violin Sonatas with Rudolf Buchbinder in Vienna’s Musikverein.
Szeps-Znaider enjoys a strong relationship with the London Symphony Orchestra; an orchestra he has worked with extensively both as conductor and as soloist. Together they recently recorded the complete Mozart Violin Concertos, directed from the violin by Szeps-Znaider, with The Strad extolling his playing as ‘possibly among the most exquisite violin sound ever captured on disc’.
His extensive discography also includes the Nielsen Violin Concerto with Alan Gilbert and the New York Philharmonic, the Elgar Concerto in B minor with Sir Colin Davis and the Dresden Staatskapelle, award-winning recordings of the Brahms and Korngold concertos with Valery Gergiev and the Vienna Philharmonic, the Beethoven and Mendelssohn concertos with Zubin Mehta and the Israel Philharmonic, the Prokofiev Concerto No. 2 and Glazunov Concerto with Mariss Jansons and the Bavarian Radio Symphony, and the Mendelssohn Concerto on DVD with Riccardo Chailly and the Gewandhaus Orchestra. Szeps-Znaider has also recorded the complete works of Brahms for violin and piano with Yefim Bronfman.
Szeps-Znaider is passionate about supporting the next generation of musical talent, and is President of the Nielsen Competition, which takes place every three years in Odense, Denmark. He plays the “Kreisler” Guarnerius “del Gesu” 1741 on extended loan to him by The Royal Danish Theater through the generosity of the VELUX Foundations, the Villum Fonden and the Knud Højgaard Foundation.
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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).