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Rock-and-roll energy meets classical sophistication with the Bravo! Vail debut of the St Lawrence String Quartet, joined by Anne-Marie McDermott for a tenderly expressive Piano Quintet by America's first truly successful female composer.
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ST LAWRENCE STRING QUARTET
GEOFF NUTTALL, VIOLIN
OWEN DALBY, VIOLIN
LESLEY ROBERTSON, VIOLA
CHRISTOPHER COSTANZA, CELLO
ANNE-MARIE MCDERMOTT, PIANO
HAYDN: String Quartet in D major, Op. 20, No. 4
BEACH: Piano Quintet
BRAHMS: String Quartet in A minor, Op. 51, No. 2
HAYDN: String Quartet in D major, Op. 20, No. 4
String Quartet in D major, Op. 20, No. 4 (1772)
FRANZ JOSEPH HAYDN (1732-1809)
The six works of Op. 20, composed in 1772, were known to Haydn’s contemporaries as the “Sun” Quartets because the cover of their first published edition (1774) was emblazoned with a drawing of the rising sun. The sobriquet was just as appropriate for musical reasons, since these were really the earliest quartets in which Haydn’s full genius in the form dawned. The Op. 20 Quartets are remarkable for the manner in which all four of the instrumental voices participate fully in the musical conversation. The opening movement of the Quartet in D major, Op. 20, No. 4, is moody and unsettled. The second movement is a set of variations on a melancholy theme. The Menuet exhibits the fiery cross-rhythms Haydn would have known from the folk musicians in the area of Esterházy Palace; the central trio is deliberately bland for contrast. A darting melody provides the main subject for the sonata-form finale; the second theme is a stream of sixteenth notes divided between the violins.
BEACH: Piano Quintet
Quintet for Piano and String Quartet in F-sharp minor, Op. 67 (1907)
AMY BEACH (1867-1944)
Amy Beach was the most prominent American female composer of her day; one of the leading keyboard artists during the years around World War I; the first native woman composer to earn recognition abroad; the first well-known female musician to receive her entire professional training in this country; and the first to write a symphony. Born Amy Cheney in Henniker, New Hampshire in 1867 to a family of colonial descent, she received her earliest instruction on piano from her mother, began composing melodies at four, and gave her debut recital a year later, at which she played some waltzes of her own invention. In 1875, when she was eight, the family moved to Boston, where Amy pursued her studies of piano and theory. On October 23, 1883, she made her public debut with orchestra in Boston, and pursued a successful career as a soloist for the following two years. In December 1885, Amy Cheney married the prominent Boston surgeon Henry Harris Aubrey Beach, and thereafter referred to herself exclusively in the Victorian fashion as “Mrs. H.H.A. Beach” (initials only). Her Gaelic Symphony, premiered by the Boston Symphony in 1896, was the first such work by an American woman. Following the death of her husband in 1910, Amy Beach resumed an active concert career. She died from a heart attack in 1944 at age 77.
A meditative introduction prefaces the first movement of Beach’s Quintet for Piano and Strings (1907). The main theme is a smooth, somber melody presented by the violin; the second theme, in a brighter tonality, is given in the piano’s tenor register. Ethereal, sustained string unisons recalled from the introduction bridge to the development, which treats both of the movement’s themes. The strings, again in unison, begin the recapitulation. The Adagio is in a three-part form (A–B–A) that uses a tender melody for its outer sections and more impassioned music for its central episode. The finale, in altered sonata form, takes as its principal subject a short-phrased violin strain and as its subsidiary theme an expansive theme presented by the viola.
BRAHMS: String Quartet in A minor, Op. 51, No. 2
String Quartet in A minor, Op. 51, No. 2 (1873)
JOHANNES BRAHMS (1833-1897)
As with the First Symphony, colleagues pestered Brahms for years to let them have a quartet from his pen. In 1865, the violinist and faithful champion of his music Joseph Joachim asked, “Is your String Quartet in C minor finished yet; if so, can you let us have it for a concert on December 18th?” Brahms did not reply. (There is no way to tell if that C minor quartet became Op. 51, No. 1.) Four years later, Clara Schumann reported that Brahms showed her two quartet movements, which may (or may not) have ended up in Op. 51. Later in 1869, the composer’s publisher, Fritz Simrock, also pressed him to supply a quartet. Brahms replied, “I am sorry, but I must ask you to be patient.” Though the C minor and A minor Quartets that eventually comprised Op. 51 were well enough formed that Brahms allowed the Florentine Quartet to read through them in the summer of 1869, he continued to hold them back. It was not until a summer holiday in 1873 at Tutzing, south of Munich, that he put these works into their final shape.
The lyrical, sweetly melancholy nature of the A minor Quartet apparently grew from the composer’s long friendship and admiring professional association with the violinist Joseph Joachim. Brahms admits as much in the Quartet’s opening gesture, in which the second, third and fourth notes in the violin sound the pitches F–A–E, standing for Frei, aber einsam (“Free, but lonely”), which Joachim had adopted as his musical motto many years before. The Andante suspends a warmly lyrical violin melody upon a steady, winding obbligato in the cello and viola. A stormy central section heightens the sense of serenity when the mood and music of the opening return. The third movement juxtaposes two starkly contrasting kinds of music: one is a revival of the old Minuet; the other is a dashing moto perpetuo passage that twice intrudes upon the halcyon Minuet. The finale is a hybrid of rondo and sonata forms.
The SLSQ is renowned for the intensity of its performances, its breadth of repertoire, and its commitment to concert experiences that are at once intellectually exciting and emotionally alive.
Pianist and Bravo! Vail Artistic Director Anne-Marie McDermott is a consummate artist who balances a versatile career as a soloist and collaborator. She performs over 100 concerts a year in a combination of solo recitals, concerti, and chamber music.
"Modern...dramatic...superb...wickedly attentive...with a hint of rock 'n roll energy..." are just a few ways critics describe the musical phenomenon that is the St Lawrence String Quartet. The SLSQ is renowned for the intensity of its performances, its breadth of repertoire, and its commitment to concert experiences that are at once intellectually exciting and emotionally alive. Highlights in 2018-19 include performances with pianist Inon Barnatan, and the long-awaited release of their recording of all six Haydn Op. 20 “Sun” Quartets.
Fiercely committed to collaboration with living composers, the SLSQ's fruitful partnership with Adams, Jonathan Berger, Osvaldo Golijov, and many others has yielded some of the finest additions to the quartet literature in recent years. The Quartet is also especially dedicated to the music of Haydn, and recording his groundbreaking set of six Op. 20 quartets in high-definition video for a free, universal release online in the 2018-19 season. According to The New Yorker, “…no other North American quartet plays the music of Haydn with more intelligence, expressivity, and force...”
Established in Toronto in 1989, the SLSQ quickly earned acclaim at top international chamber music competitions and was soon playing hundreds of concerts per year worldwide. They established an ongoing residency at Spoleto Festival USA, made prize-winning recordings for EMI of music by Schumann, Tchaikovsky, and Golijov, earning two Grammy nominations and a host of other prizes before being appointed ensemble-in-residence at Stanford University in 1999.
At Stanford, the SLSQ is at the forefront of intellectual life on campus. The SLSQ directs the music department's chamber music program, and frequently collaborates with other departments including the Schools of Law, Medicine, Business and Education. The Quartet performs regularly at Stanford Live, hosts an annual chamber music seminar, and runs the Emerging String Quartet Program through which they mentor the next generation of young quartets. In the words of Alex Ross of The New Yorker: "The St. Lawrence are remarkable not simply for the quality of their music making, exalted as it is, but for the joy they take in the act of connection."
Photo credit: Marco Borggreve
Pianist Anne-Marie McDermott is a consummate artist who balances a versatile career as a soloist and collaborator. She performs over 100 concerts a year in a combination of solo recitals, concerti and chamber music. Her repertoire choices are eclectic, spanning from Bach and Haydn to Prokofiev and Scriabin to Kernis, Hartke, Tower and Wuorinen.
With over 50 concerti in her repertoire, Ms. McDermott has performed with many leading orchestras including the New York Philharmonic, Minnesota Orchestra, Dallas Symphony, Columbus Symphony, Seattle Symphony, National Symphony, Houston Symphony, Colorado Symphony, Pittsburgh Symphony, St. Louis Symphony, Atlanta Symphony, Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, Moscow Virtuosi, Hong Kong Philharmonic, San Diego Symphony, New Jersey Symphony and Baltimore Symphony among others. Ms. McDermott has toured with the Australian Chamber Orchestra and the Moscow Virtuosi.
In the recent seasons, Ms. McDermott performed with the Philadelphia Orchestra, Buffalo Philharmonic, North Carolina Symphony, Charlotte Symphony, Huntsville Symphony, Alabama Symphony, San Diego Symphony, the Oregon Mozart Players, and the New Century Chamber Orchestra.
Recital engagements have included the 92nd Street Y, Alice Tully Hall, Town Hall, The Schubert Club, Kennedy Center, as well as universities across the country. Anne-Marie McDermott has curated and performed in a number of intense projects including: the Complete Prokofiev Piano Sonatas and Chamber Music, a Three Concert Series of Shostakovich Chamber Music, as well as a recital series of Haydn and Beethoven Piano Sonatas. Most recently, she commissioned works of Charles Wuorinen and Clarice Assad which were premiered in May 2009 at Town Hall, in conjunction with Bach’s Goldberg Variations.
As a soloist, Ms. McDermott has recorded the complete Prokofiev Piano Sonatas, Bach English Suites and Partitas (which was named Gramophone Magazine’s Editor’s Choice), and most recently, Gershwin Complete Works for Piano and Orchestra with the Dallas Symphony and Justin Brown.
In addition to her many achievements and association with Bravo! Vail, McDermott is also Artistic Director of two other festivals; The Ocean Reef Chamber Music Festival in the Florida Keys and The Avila Chamber Music Celebration in Curaçao, off the coast of Venezuela.
As a chamber music performer, Anne-Marie McDermott was named an artist member of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center in 1995 and performs and tours extensively with them each season. She also continues a long standing collaboration with the highly acclaimed violinist, Nadja Salerno Sonnenberg. As a duo, they have released a CD titled “Live” on the NSS label and plan to release the Complete Brahms Violin and Piano Sonatas in the future. Ms. McDermott is also a member of the renowned piano quartet, Opus One, with colleagues Ida Kavafian, Steven Tenenbom and Peter Wiley.
She continues to perform each season with her sisters, Maureen McDermott and Kerry McDermott in the McDermott Trio. Ms. McDermott has also released an all Schumann CD with violist, Paul Neubauer, as well as the Complete Chamber Music of Debussy with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center.
Ms. McDermott studied at the Manhattan School of Music with Dalmo Carra, Constance Keene and John Browning. She was a winner of the Young Concert Artists auditions and was awarded an Avery Fisher Career Grant.
In addition to her duties at Bravo! Vail, Anne-Marie McDermott regularly performs at Festivals across the United States including Spoleto, Mainly Mozart, Sante Fe, La Jolla Summerfest, Mostly Mozart, Newport, Caramoor, Chamber Music Northwest, Aspen, Music from Angelfire, and the Festival Casals in Puerto Rico, among others.
Photo: Zach Mahone
Tuesday, July 9 | 6:00PM
Lauded by The New York Times for "making the most traditional of works feel radical once more," the Takács Quartet presents a compelling program featuring three essential cornerstones of the chamber music repertoire.
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.
Wednesday, July 31 | 7:30PM
Explore the extraordinary depth and breadth of the world of percussion music, including a Violin Concerto (featuring Yvonne Lam of the acclaimed ensemble Eighth Blackbird) accompanied by a "orchestra" that calls for flowerpots, coffee cans, and washtubs.
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Where are the chamber music series performances held?
Bravo! Vail Chamber Music Series concerts at held at Donovan Pavilion, located at 1600 S Frontage Rd W, Vail, CO 81657.
What time do performances begin?
Concerts start promptly at 6:00PM. Doors open 30 minutes prior. Give yourself plenty of time to park and get to the venue. Latecomers will be escorted to seats by ushers at an appropriate interval.
Where do I park for Chamber Music Series performances?
Free parking is available at Donovan Pavilion.
How long do concerts last?
Concerts generally last 90 minutes to 2 hours including a scheduled intermission.
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. Tickets are also sold at the Donovan Pavilion one hour prior to concert.
Where is the Will Call window?
Will Call tickets may be picked up one hour prior to the concert at the Box Office table located to the right of the entrance of Donovan Pavilion.
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 from the Box Office at the venue.
What is the seating plan?
Seating for Chamber Music Series concerts is general admission and is ADA (American Disability Act) accessible.
What food and beverages are available at the concert?
Food and beverages including beer and wine are available for purchase on the back patio prior to the concert and at intermission.
What should I wear?
There is no dress code for concerts.
What are some general rules of Chamber Series 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. We recommend eating prior to the concert or at intermission. Parental supervision is required for all children attending Bravo! Vail concerts.
What is the Donovan Pavilion Child Policy?
Chamber Music Series concerts are very intimate. We strongly recommend that parents bring children aged six or older who are able to sit quietly through the entire performance.
What if I lose something at the concert?
Call the Bravo! Vail Box Office 970.827.5700 or the Donovan Pavilion 970.477.3699.
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).