DALLAS SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA
Fabio Luisi, conductor
Alessio Bax, piano
B ADOLPHE Diesen Kuss der ganzen Welt! (“This Kiss to the Whole World!”)
SAINT-SAËNS Piano Concerto No. 2 in G minor, Op. 22
SCHUMANN Symphony No. 4 in D minor, Op. 120
A world premiere sets the stage for the “magical” (Music Web International) pianist Alessio Bax in a fantastical, mercurial concerto. Schumann’s turbulent Fourth Symphony is feverish and passionate, culminating in a triumphant finale.
B ADOLPHE: Diesen Kuss der ganzen Welt! (“This Kiss to the Whole World!”)
Diesen Kuss der ganzen Welt! (This Kiss to the Whole World!) (2020; World Premiere)
BRUCE ADOLPHE (b. 1955)
Bruce Adolphe is appreciated in his native city of New York for heading educational incentives of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center over the past three decades. After graduating from The Juilliard School, he taught at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, Yale University, and Juilliard’s Pre-College Division. His popular lectures, broadcasts, and compositions have led to affiliations elsewhere, including stints as composer-in-residence at such festivals as Bravo! Vail, Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, Music from Angel Fire, La Jolla SummerFest, and Chamber Music Northwest. His music has been widely performed by, among other ensembles, the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, and St. Paul Chamber Orchestra. He has published three books aimed to develop musical understanding. A science aficionado, he is currently composer-in-residence at the Brain and Creativity Institute in Los Angeles.
He recently wrote three works inspired by Beethoven compositions: his Fantasia on Beethoven’s Spring Sonata; Coiled (based on the Op. 95 String Quartet); and the piece played here, written for the Dallas Symphony and its music director, Fabio Luisi. Adolphe explains:
Diesen Kuss der ganzen Welt! (This Kiss to the Whole World) is a famous line from the “Ode to Joy” by Friedrich Schiller, the text set by Beethoven in his Ninth Symphony. As this work was commissioned specifically to be on the same program with the Ninth, I chose this quote to be both the title and the message: that all humankind is together in this world, we are all related, and we should celebrate our humanity with love and joy. In addition to the title, there are several musical connections to Beethoven’s Ninth in this work: the opening tremolo in the violins; the use of recitative-like phrases in the cellos; the shapes of some melodic fragments; the presence of timpani solos.
SAINT-SAËNS: Piano Concerto No. 2 in G minor, Op. 22
Piano Concerto No. 2 in G minor, Op. 22 (1868)
CAMILLE SAINT-SAËNS (1835-1921)
Camille Saint-Saëns’s five concertos for piano span 40 years of his long career. He composed the Second at the behest of Anton Rubinstein, who in 1868 appeared in Paris as piano soloist in a series of concerto performances that Saint-Saëns conducted. Near the end of his stay, Rubinstein expressed regret that he hadn’t managed to work in an engagement as a conductor. Saint-Saëns immediately booked the Salle Pleyel for three weeks hence and quickly wrote this concerto, which he then performed with Rubinstein conducting.
A critical bon mot maintains that this concerto “begins like Bach and ends like Offenbach,” which is witty and half true. The opening resembles the sort of organ preluding found in reams of Baroque keyboard works, including those of Bach. Saint-Saëns claimed that the opening solo derived from an improvisation that had come to him while playing the organ. By the time Saint-Saëns wrote this concerto, Franz Liszt (whom he admired) had made a splash with his own solo-piano transcriptions of Bach organ music. The concerto’s opening is in that mold, and it may be that Saint-Saëns was as much inspired by Bach-Liszt as by “pure Bach.” Following the solo prelude, the piece moves on to the main body of the movement, the principal theme of which Saint-Saëns actually borrowed from his pupil Gabriel Fauré, who had written it—and rejected it—for a motet he was working on. The idea that the finale resembles Offenbach is more questionable. It is a glittering tarantella, though not one that specifically relates to Offenbach’s operettas. In any case, the most famous part of this concerto is its middle movement, ostensibly a tossed-off intermezzo but in fact a memorable scherzo in which sections of gossamer lightness surround a central expanse with a galumphing bass line and an unforgettable melody.
SCHUMANN: Symphony No. 4 in D minor, Op. 120
Symphony No. 4 in D minor, Op. 120 (1841, rev. 1851)
ROBERT SCHUMANN (1810-56)
Robert Schumann was prolific during 1841, the year in which he first devoted himself to symphonic music. He worked on his D-minor Symphony furiously through the summer and finished it on September 9, in time to offer it to his wife, Clara, as a birthday present on September 13, the day after their first anniversary. “One thing makes me happy,” he inscribed in their joint diary, “the consciousness of being still far from my goal, of being obliged to keep doing better, and with this the feeling that I have the strength to reach it.”
The symphony meeting with no success at its premiere that December, Schumann laid it aside, authorized no further performances, and withheld it from publication. Nearly a decade later, he reworked the piece, thickening his orchestration into his dense signature sound. In 1853, he inscribed a private dedication of the work to his young violinist-friend Joseph Joachim, who conducted the symphony in Hanover in January 1854. By that time Schumann’s best days were over. That February, he threw himself into the Rhine in a failed suicide attempt, and on March 4 he committed himself to the asylum where he would spend his remaining two-and-a-half years wavering between semi-productive sanity and hopeless dementia. The D-minor Symphony therefore covers Schumann’s career as a symphonist nearly from its beginning to its end.
This is a tightly wound work, intense in emotion and compact in structure. Its four movements proceed without decisive breaks; the second and third movements emerge attacca from what preceded them, while the third movement and the finale are fused into a completely unseparated span. Although the divisions between sections are softened, the work adheres to the standard symphonic structure of four movements: Lively, Romance, Scherzo (Lively), and Lively again. Liveliness obviously describes the work’s overriding spirit.
Fabio Luisi (conductor) is a maestro of major international standing.
Alessio Bax won First Prize at both the Leeds and Hamamatsu International Piano Competitions, and is now a familiar face on five continents as a recitalist, chamber musician, and concerto soloist.
Fabio Luisi (conductor) is a maestro of major international standing. He launched his tenure as Louise W. & Edmund J. Kahn Music Director of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra at the start of the 2020/21 season, and his contract was recently extended through the 28/29 season. He is also Principal Conductor of the Danish National Symphony Orchestra. He led the Zurich Opera for nine years and served for six seasons as Principal Guest Conductor of The Metropolitan Opera. His live recording of Wagner’s Siegfried and Gðtterdämmerung with The Met won a 2012 Grammy Award.
Photo: Sylvia Elzafon
Alessio Bax won First Prize at both the Leeds and Hamamatsu International Piano Competitions, and is now a familiar face on five continents as a recitalist, chamber musician, and concerto soloist. He has appeared with the London, Royal, and St. Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestras, the Boston, Dallas, Cincinnati, Sydney, and City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestras, and the NHK Symphony, collaborating with such eminent conductors as Alsop, Ashkenazy, Davis, Rattle, Temirkanov, and van Zweden.
Beethoven and Mendelssohn are a match made in heaven in this joyful program. “Supreme virtuoso” (The Daily Telegraph) James Ehnes performs Mendelssohn’s beloved romantic masterpiece, and Beethoven reveals a genially inventive side with his Symphony No. 8.
Celebrate the strength, joy, and sheer soul of the reigning divas of R&B with monster hits made famous by Aretha Franklin, Tina Turner, Patti LaBelle, Gladys Knight, Whitney Houston, Amy Winehouse, Alicia Keys, Adele, and more.
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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