Pianist Nicholas Angelich—declared "born to play Brahms" by The Daily Telegraph—makes his triumphant return to Vail with a concerto of grandeur and grace, which pairs beautifully with Prokofiev's evocative portrait of Shakespeare's star-crossed lovers.
THE PHILADELPHIA ORCHESTRA
STÉPHANE DENÈVE, CONDUCTOR
NICHOLAS ANGELICH, PIANO
BRAHMS: Piano Concerto No. 2
PROKOFIEV: Suite from Romeo and Juliet
Pre-Concert Talk presented by Wall Street Insurance in partnership with Cincinnati Insurance held one hour prior to concert.
BRAHMS: Piano Concerto No. 2
Piano Concerto No. 2 in B-flat major, Op. 83 (1878 and 1881)
JOHANNES BRAHMS (1833-1897)
In April 1878, Brahms journeyed to Goethe’s “land where the lemon trees bloom” with two friends, the Viennese surgeon Theodor Billroth and the composer Carl Goldmark. Though he found the music of Italy ghastly (he complained of hearing one opera that consisted wholly of final cadences), he loved the cathedrals, the sculptures, the artworks and, especially, the countryside. Spring was just turning into summer during his visit, and he wrote to his friend Clara Schumann, “You can have no conception of how beautiful it is here.” Still under the spell of the beneficent Italian climate, Brahms sketched themes for his Second Piano Concerto on his return to Austria on the eve of his 45th birthday. Other matters pressed, however, and the Concerto was put aside. Three years later, during the spring of 1881, Brahms returned to Italy and he was inspired by that second trip to resume work on the Concerto. The score was completed by July. Whether or not the halcyon influence of Italy can be detected in the wondrous music of the B-flat Concerto is for each listener to decide. This work is certainly more mellow than the stormy First Concerto, introduced over twenty years earlier, but whether that quality is the result of Brahms’ trips to the sunny south, or of a decade of imbibing Viennese Gemütlichkeit, or simply of greater maturity remains a matter for speculation.
The Concerto opens with a sylvan horn call answered by sweeping arpeggios from the piano. These initial gestures are introductory to the sonata form proper, which begins with the robust entry of the full orchestra. A number of themes are presented in the exposition; most are lyrical but one is vigorously rhythmic. The development uses all the thematic material, with one section welded almost seamlessly to the next, a characteristic of all Brahms’ greatest works. The recapitulation is ushered in by the solo horn, here given a richer orchestral accompaniment than on its earlier appearance.
It is rare for a concerto to have more than three movements, but the second movement, a scherzo, was added by Brahms to provide a contrast of tonality and mood within the overall architecture of the work. The third movement is a touching nocturne based on the song of the solo cello heard immediately at the beginning. (Brahms later fitted this same melody with words as the song Immer leiser wird mein Schlummer [“My Sleep Grows Ever More Peaceful”].) An agitated central section gives way to long, magical phrases for the clarinets that lead to a return of the solo cello’s lovely theme. The finale fuses rondo and sonata elements in a style strongly reminiscent of Hungarian Gypsy music.
PROKOFIEV: Suite from Romeo and Juliet
Selections from Romeo and Juliet (1935)
SERGEI PROKOFIEV (1891-1953)
When Prokofiev returned to Russia in 1933 after his long sojourn in the West, he had already acquired a reputation as a composer of ballet. His first balletic effort had been the volcanic Ala and Lolly written in 1914 for Sergei Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes in Paris, whose music is better known in its concert form as the thunderous Scythian Suite. Though Diaghilev did not like the piece and refused to stage it, he remained convinced of Prokofiev’s talent and commissioned Chout (“The Buffoon”) from him in 1921 and produced it with his Ballet Russe. Le Pas d’acier (“The Steel Step”) followed in 1927 and The Prodigal Son in 1928, which was the last new ballet Diaghilev produced before his death the following year. Sur le Borysthène (“On the Dnieper”) was staged, unsuccessfully, by the Paris Opéra in 1932. The last two of these works showed a move away from the spiky musical language of Prokofiev’s earlier years toward a simpler, more lyrical style, and the Kirov Theater in Leningrad took them as evidence in 1934 that he should be commissioned to compose a full-length ballet on Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. After difficulties staging the ballet in Russia, Romeo and Juliet was premiered in Brno, Czechoslovakia in December 1938 and has since come to be regarded as one of Prokofiev’s most masterful creations.
Montagues and Capulets incorporates, as slow introduction, the music accompanying the Duke as he forbids further fights between the families on pain of death, the heavy-footed Dance of the Capulet Knights from the Act I ballroom scene, and a graceful transformation of the Knights’ theme to portray Juliet.
The Minuet describes the arrival of the guests at the Capulet mansion in the Act I ball scene.
The Young Juliet characterizes the several moods of the heroine, not yet fourteen years old.
The swaggering/cautious Masks depicts the arrival in masks and costumes of Romeo, Mercutio and Benvolio at the ball in the house of their enemy.
The rapturous balcony scene is titled simply Romeo and Juliet.
The ecclesiastical music depicting Friar Laurence occurs as the friendly monk and Romeo await Juliet in the cleric’s cell.
The Death of Tybalt is based on the music accompanying the duel of Tybalt and Mercutio, Tybalt’s death and his funeral procession.
Romeo at Juliet’s Tomb is taken from the ballet’s final scene: Juliet’s funeral procession and Romeo’s grief at her presumed death.
The Death of Juliet is the touching music that closes the ballet.
Stéphane Denève is Music Director of the Brussels Philharmonic and the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, former Principal Guest Conductor of The Philadelphia Orchestra, and Director of the Centre for Future Orchestral Repertoire (CffOR).
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 Music Director of the Brussels Philharmonic and the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, former Principal Guest Conductor of The Philadelphia 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 programs 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.
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
Friday, July 12 | 6:00PM
This wonderfully crowd-pleasing program has something for everyone: A colorful high-octane opening, Chopin Competition winner Seong-Jin Cho in his Bravo! Vail debut, and the fiercely flamboyant First Symphony of Rachmaninoff.
Sunday, July 20 | 6:00PM
The "ferociously talented" (Time Out New York) Conrad Tao makes his Vail debut with Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 2, combining elegant charm and youthful vitality. Nearly 20 years in the making, the Symphony No. 1 by Brahms is dizzying, complex, and truly transcendent.
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 and non-exchangeable. 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).
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