ACADEMY OF ST MARTIN IN THE FIELDS
Joshua Bell, violin
DVOŘÁK Violin Concerto in A minor, Op. 53
BEETHOVEN Symphony No. 3 in E-flat major, Op. 55, “Eroica”
Dvořák draws on the striking vitality of Slavic folklore and lyricism for this spirited concerto, perfectly paired with the sublime struggle and transcendence of Beethoven’s "Eroica" Symphony, heralding the Romantic era.
DVOŘÁK: Violin Concerto in A minor, Op. 53
Violin Concerto in A minor, Op. 53 (1879; rev. 1880-82)
ANTONÍN DVOŘÁK (1841-1904)
In the late 1870s, Johannes Brahms recommended Dvořák to his publisher, Fritz Simrock, who in 1878 began publishing a stream of Dvořák’s folk-flavored works, such as his Slavonic Dances, Slavonic Rhapsodies, and Czech Suite. At that time, Dvořák also embarked on his Violin Concerto, which is similarly bathed in lyricism tempered with tinges of vernacular flavoring, particularly in its dance-like Finale. He wrote it in the late summer of 1879 at the instigation of Joseph Joachim, the chief string-playing acolyte of the Brahms circle. Dvořák promptly sent it to Joachim, who responded appreciatively and promised that he was “looking forward to inspecting soon, con amore, your work.”
His inspection led to suggestions. A back-and-forth between composer and violinist ensued, in the course of which the piece was substantially recomposed, not just in its violin-writing but in its very bones. In May 1890, Dvořák wrote to Simrock, “According to Mr. Joachim’s wish, I revised the whole concerto and did not leave a single bar untouched. ... I kept the themes and added a few new ones, but the whole conception of the work is different. Harmony, orchestration, rhythm—all the development is new.”
Two more years of kibitzing still lay ahead before the piece got an orchestral test-run in November 1882. Simrock’s advisor Robert Keller attended and added his two cents, arguing that the first two movements, which Dvořák had laid out as a connected span, should be separated entirely. Dvořák protested to Simrock: “You know that I esteem this man and can appreciate him, but this time he went too far. The first movement would be too short and cannot be complete in itself: it would be necessary to add a third part and to this—sincerely speaking—I am not inclined.”
After all this, Joachim did not introduce the piece after all, notwithstanding his involvement in its difficult birth and the fact that his name remained at the head of the score as its dedicatee. The honor of the world premiere (in Prague) went instead to František Ondřiček, who also introduced it in Vienna and London and became its most ardent champion. Joachim never played the piece in public.
Although we encounter this work less often than the standard Romantic concertos of Mendelssohn Brahms, and Bruch (for example), musicians who play it often find themselves growing strongly attached to it. One such was Nathan Milstein, who in 1957 stated, “I feel that it has been unjustly neglected. Because of the quality of the music, the masterful writing for the instrument, this concerto deserves at least as much attention as some more frequently performed concertos. I am especially fond of the romantic second movement and the eloquently brilliant last movement.”
BEETHOVEN: Symphony No. 3 in E-flat major, Op. 55, "Eroica"
Symphony No. 3 in E-flat major, Op. 55, Sinfonia eroica (1802-04)
LUDWIG VAN BEETHOVEN (1770-1827)
Beethoven was a partisan of noble humanitarian principles, believing that the democratic ideals of ancient Greece were reflected in the aspirations of the Jacobins of post-Revolutionary France. At the head of the Jacobins was Napoleon Bonaparte, who Beethoven viewed as a repository of hope for the social enlightenment of humankind.
He began contemplating a musical celebration of Napoleon as early as 1797. When his sketches coalesced into a symphony, he resolved not to simply dedicate his composition to Napoleon but to actually name it after him. In the spring of 1804, just as he completed his symphonic tribute, news arrived that Napoleon had crowned himself Emperor of the French, that the standard-bearer of republicanism had seized power as an absolutist dictator. It fell to Beethoven’s pupil Ferdinand Ries to inform the temperamental composer, and to relate the scene in a later biography:
Both I and several of his closer friends saw this symphony lying on his table, already copied out in score; at the very top of the title-page was the word “Buonaparte” and at the very bottom “Luigi van Beethoven”—and that was all. ... I was the first to bring him the news that Bonaparte had declared himself emperor—whereupon he flew into a rage, shouting: “Is even he nothing but an ordinary man! Now he will also trample upon human rights and become a slave to his own ambition; now he will set himself above all other men and become a tyrant.” Beethoven went to the table, grabbed the top of the title-page, tore it in two, and threw it to the floor. The first page was re-written and the symphony was then for the first time given the title of Sinfonia eroica.
The autograph score thus mutilated has disappeared, but the library of Vienna’s Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde owns a copyist’s manuscript that tells a similar tale. Its title page originally read (translated from its original Italian) “Grand Symphony titled Bonaparte by Mr. Ludwig van Beethoven.” The words “titled Bonaparte” were erased with such vehemence that a gash stands largely in their place. When the piece was published, it was presented as Sinfonia eroica—“Heroic Symphony … to Celebrate the Memory of a Great Man”; and its dedication, originally intended for Napoleon, was given over instead to Beethoven’s patron Prince Lobkowitz. Disappointment in his idealization of Mankind became a leitmotif in Beethoven’s life.
At first, critical response was guarded, with multiple reviewers finding it bizarre and most being put off by what they considered its extraordinary length. Within a few years, nearly all reactions grew favorable, or at least respectful, and critics were starting to accept it as one of the summit achievements in all of music.
With a career spanning more than 30 years, chamber musician, recording artist and conductor, Academy of St Martin in the Fields Music Director Joshua Bell is one of the most celebrated violinists of his era.
With a career spanning more than 30 years as a soloist, chamber musician, recording artist and conductor, Joshua Bell is one of the most celebrated violinists of his era. An exclusive Sony Classical artist, he has recorded more than 40 CDs garnering Grammy, Mercury, Gramophone and Echo Klassik awards, and is a recipient of the Avery Fisher Prize, as well as the Lumiere Prize for his work in the sphere of Virtual Reality. Named the Music Director of the Academy of St Martin in the Fields in 2011, he is the only person to hold this post since Sir Neville Marriner formed the orchestra in 1958, and recently renewed his contract through 2020. In 2016, Sony released Bell’s album For the Love of Brahms with the Academy of St Martin in the Fields, cellist Steven Isserlis and pianist Jeremy Denk, followed in 2017 by the Joshua Bell Classical Collection, a 14 CD set of Bell’s Sony recording highlights from the past 20 years.
Summer 2017 saw Joshua Bell perform at the BBC Proms with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, at the Verbier Festival, as Artist In Residence at the Edinburgh International Festival and – in the US - at Tanglewood, Ravinia, and the Mostly Mozart Festival. In the 2017/18 season in the US, Bell takes part in the New York Philharmonic’s celebration of Leonard Bernstein’s centennial, performing Bernstein’s Serenade led by Alan Gilbert, and also appears with the Philadelphia Orchestra and Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra among others. His North American recital tours take him to Carnegie Hall, Chicago’s Symphony Center and Washington D.C.’s Strathmore Center. Highlights in Europe include appearances as soloist with the Vienna Symphony and Danish National Symphony; as director and soloist with the Orchestre National de Lyon; and recitals in Paris, Zurich, Geneva, Bologna, Milan and London. With the Academy of St Martin in the Fields he will tour widely including in the United Kingdom, United States and Europe, featuring performances in London, New York, San Francisco, Reykjavik and at the Elbphilharmonie in Hamburg.
Convinced of the value of music as a diplomatic and educational tool, Bell participated in President Obama’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities’ first cultural mission to Cuba. He is also involved in Turnaround Arts, another project implemented by the Committee and the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts which provides arts education to low-performing elementary and middle schools.
Joshua Bell performs on the 1713 Huberman Stradivarius violin and uses a late 18th century French bow by François Tourte.
Photo: Lisa-Marie Mazzucco
A whirlwind grand tour of music by Mozart! Travel from the delightful “Turkish” violin concerto through the rich harmonies and bohemian colors of the “Prague” symphony, arriving at the piano concerto declared "one of the greatest wonders of the world" (Alfred Brendel).
Grammy and Juno Award winning Bramwell Tovey, “the very model of a modern orchestral maestro” (Montecristo Magazine), shares the stage with Bravo! favorite Augustin Hadelich, declared “one of the outstanding violinists of his generation” (New York Times) and “technically and musically impeccable” (Washington Post).
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. There is a $2 fee per ticket. Tickets are delivered by mail or email, or may be picked up at Will Call.
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?
While our standard policy is that tickets are non-refundable, we understand the necessity to be flexible in these unprecedented times. Should you need to change your plans to attend a concert this summer, we ask that you consider donating the value of your tickets to help support Bravo! Vail's ongoing mission of enriching people’s lives through the power of music. If you prefer a refund rather than donating the value of your tickets, please contact the box office.
If we are forced to cancel an event in its entirety, you will have the option to donate the value of your tickets to help support Bravo's mission, place the value of your tickets on account for future use, or receive a refund.
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?
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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