NEW YORK PHILHARMONIC
Jaap van Zweden, conductor
Daniil Trifonov, piano
BEETHOVEN Piano Concerto No. 4 in G major, Op. 58
MOZART Symphony No. 40 in G minor, K. 550
"Without question the most astounding pianist of our age" (Times of London), Trifonov expertly navigates Beethoven’s dramatic dialogue between piano and orchestra. The “Great G minor” is one of the most famous and beloved of all orchestral works, filled with iconic melodies, intense colors, and invigorating twists and turns.
BEETHOVEN: Piano Concerto No. 4 in G major, Op. 58
Piano Concerto No. 4 in G major, Op. 58 (1806)
LUDWIG VAN BEETHOVEN (1770-1827)
Ludwig van Beethoven unveiled his Fourth Piano Concerto at a private concert in the mansion of his patron Prince Lobkowitz in March 1807. Then he put it away for nearly two years and performed it only one more time—in his last public appearance as a concerto soloist, at a concert at Vienna’s Theater an der Wien on December 22, 1808. That all-Beethoven marathon was one of the most extraordinary events in all of music history. In addition to this concerto, it included the world premieres of the Symphonies No. 5 and No. 6 as well as of the Choral Fantasy, the Vienna premieres of three movements from the C-major Mass and the concert scena “Ah Perfido!,” and a solo keyboard improvisation by the composer. To encounter all of these revolutionary pieces at one sitting must have been overwhelming, and to many listeners the Fourth Piano Concerto must have sounded like just more of the same madness. His pupil Carl Czerny termed Beethoven’s performance on that occasion to be “playful,” an odd enough descriptive that it invites one to wonder what really went on.
Informed members of that audience would have expected a concerto to begin with a long introduction during which the orchestra presented some of the first movement’s principal themes. But this concerto fades into existence with unexpected gentleness, played softly by the solo piano, after which the featured instrument withdraws, not to be heard again for another 69 measures. Suspense mounts during that span. You might say that the silent piano is unusually “present” during those 69 measures precisely because it made its mark so indelibly at the outset.
The second movement is also extraordinary, even apart from its uncharacteristic brevity (lasting as it does only about five minutes). In his 1859 biography of Beethoven, the music theorist Adolf Bernhard Marx suggested that this Andante con moto bore some relationship to Gluck’s opera Orfeo ed Euridice—specifically, to how Orpheus used music to tame wild beasts. In 1985, the musicologist Owen Jander pointed out that Beethoven’s music—indeed, in the whole concerto, not just the slow movement—seems to follow point by point a popular version of the Orpheus legend that was presented as street theatre in Beethoven’s Vienna. Opinions are divided about whether Beethoven would have interpreted text into tones so literally; yet Jander put forth a strong argument, and the idea does capture the imagination.
The finale brings this essentially lyric concerto to an ebullient end, with trumpets and timpani added for the first time. But even here Beethoven seems less interested in impressing audiences with stentorian sounds than in exploring harmonic subtleties and seducing his listeners with captivating melodies and appealing touches of orchestration.
MOZART: Symphony No. 40 in G minor, K. 550
Symphony No. 40 in G minor, K.550 (1788)
WOLFGANG AMADEUS MOZART (1756-91)
Even music-lovers accustomed to thinking of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart as an unstoppable vessel of creativity have to be impressed by how fast he produced his final three symphonies—Nos. 39, 40, and 41. He composed these three works, 12 movements in all, in about nine weeks during the summer of 1788—an average of five days and a few hours for each movement. He was also writing other pieces at the same time, giving piano lessons, tending a sick wife, enduring the death of a six-month-old daughter, entertaining friends, moving to a new apartment, and begging his fellow freemason Michael Puchberg for a cash-flow loan. In one of his letters to Puchberg, Mozart mentioned that he anticipated income from two upcoming concerts at the Vienna Casino. Probably they would have included these symphonies, but it appears that the concerts were cancelled. It was long assumed that the G-minor Symphony was never performed in Mozart’s lifetime, but in 2011 the musicologist Milada Jonášová unveiled a newly discovered period document revealing that it was played in a concert under the patronage of Mozart’s friend Baron Gottfried van Swieten. It also figured on a program given twice in Vienna, on April 16-17, 1791. This helps explain why the score exists in two distinctly orchestrated versions. Mozart originally scored it for flute, two oboes, two bassoons, two horns, and strings—likely the setting used for the van Swieten concert. Before the 1791 performances, he added a pair of clarinets and revised the oboe parts to interlace with them. The warm-timbred version with clarinets is standard in modern performances, though the one without clarinets is occasionally revived.
The work’s four movements are poised in exquisite balance: the urgency of the opening Molto allegro, which in some interpretations can verge on panic; the mysterious, potentially woozy grace of the Andante; the grim counterpoint of the Menuetto, with its blunt cross-rhythms (Brahms, who owned the work’s manuscript for a while, must have loved them); the almost unbearable tension of the finale. Perhaps the most shocking of the symphony’s many astonishments falls at the beginning of the development section in the last movement. Here Mozart’s woodwinds and strings play loudly and in unison (or at the octave, to accommodate the different ranges of instruments) a passage in which 11 of the 12 notes of the chromatic scale are sounded. The only note missing is G, which, being the tonic key of the entire symphony, might be said to hover in the background anyway. Mozart’s Symphony No. 40 is certainly not a piece of 12-tone music, but these eight measures do qualify as a passage of 12-tone music. Imagine what Mozart might have accomplished if he had lived longer!
Jaap van Zweden is the music director for the New York Philharmonic.
Russian pianist Daniil Trifonov has made a spectacular ascent in the world of classical music and is "without question the most astounding young pianist of our age" (London Times).
With the arrival last season of Jaap van Zweden as Music Director of the New York Philharmonic, a new era began. Having concluded a highly acclaimed and revelatory inaugural season, Jaap van Zweden and the musicians of the New York Philharmonic unite for a new 2019-20 season of more surprises and adventurous experiences. As an international presence on three continents over the past decade, he also continues as Music Director of the Hong Kong Philharmonic, a post he has held since 2012. Guest engagements this season include the Chicago Symphony, Cleveland Orchestra, Netherlands Radio Philharmonic, Shanghai Symphony and Amsterdam’s Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra.
Van Zweden has appeared as guest conductor with many other leading orchestras around the globe, among them the Orchestre de Paris, Leipzig Gewandhaus orchester, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Vienna and Berlin Philharmonics, and the London Symphony Orchestra.
In this his second season as Music Director of the New York Philharmonic, Jaap van Zweden fuses past and present, representing today’s composers and the new-music landscape while reflecting on relevant historic achievements. He conducts repertoire ranging from seven World Premieres (including opening week with a Philip Glass commission and the season-concluding hotspots festival with works by Nico Muhly and Sarah Kirkland Snider, as well as three other works by women composers for Project 19) to symphonic cornerstones (including Mahler both in New York and on a European tour in 2020, when the Philharmonic becomes the first-ever American orchestra to appear at the Mahler Festival in Amsterdam). Other season highlights include a fully staged production of Bluebeard’s Castle and Erwartung. He conducts his first Young People’s Concert and once again invites his fellow New Yorkers to Phil the Hall. Added to his repertoire of Beethoven, Tchaikovsky, Shostakovich and Schoenberg will be Björk, Steve Reich and John Adams.
Jaap van Zweden has made numerous acclaimed recordings, the most recent of which is a 2019 release with the New York Philharmonic of the World Premiere of Julia Wolfe’s Fire in my mouth, continuing the Philharmonic’s partnership with Decca Gold. In 2018 with the Hong Kong Philharmonic, he completed a four-year project conducting the first-ever performances in Hong Kong of Wagner’s Der Ring des Nibelungen, which have been recorded and released on Naxos Records as individual recordings as well as a complete set. His highly praised performances of Lohengrin, Die Meistersinger and Parsifal, the latter of which earned Maestro van Zweden the prestigious Edison Award for Best Opera Recording in 2012, are available on CD/DVD.
Born in Amsterdam, Jaap van Zweden was appointed at age nineteen as the youngest-ever concertmaster of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra. He began his conducting career nearly twenty years later in 1996. He remains Honorary Chief Conductor of the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic where he served as Chief Conductor from 2005-2013, served as Chief Conductor of the Royal Flanders Orchestra from 2008-11, and was Music Director from 2008-2018 of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra where he currently holds the title Conductor Laureate. Van Zweden was named Musical America's 2012 Conductor of the Year and was the subject of an October 2018 CBS 60 Minutes profile. Recently, he was awarded the prestigious 2020 Concertgebouw Prize, and the Hong Kong Philharmonic under Jaap van Zweden’s leadership was named Gramophone’s 2019 Orchestra of the Year.
In 1997, Jaap van Zweden and his wife Aaltje established the Papageno Foundation, the objective being to support families of children with autism. Now, over 20 years later, the Foundation has grown into a multi-faceted organization which, through various initiatives and activities, focuses on the development of children and young adults with autism. The Foundation provides in-home music therapy to children through a national network of qualified music therapists in the Netherlands; opened the Papageno House in August 2015 (with Her Majesty Queen Maxima in attendance) for young adults with autism to live, work and participate in the community; created a research center at the Papageno House for early diagnosis and treatment of autism and for analyzing the effects of music therapy on autism; develops funding opportunities to support autism programs; and launched the app, TEAMPapageno, which allows children with autism to communicate with each other through music composition.
Photo credit: Bert Hulselmans
Russian pianist Daniil Trifonov launched his career by winning First Prize at both the Tchaikovsky and Rubinstein Competitions in 2011 at the age of 20. The 2016–17 season saw the release of Transcendental, a double album that represents Mr. Trifonov’s third title as an exclusive Deutsche Grammophon artist and marks the first time that Liszt’s complete concert études were recorded for the label. The winner of Gramophone’s 2016 Artist of the Year award, he played Tchaikovsky’s First Piano Concerto under Riccardo Muti in the gala finale of the Chicago Symphony’s 125th anniversary celebrations and, having scored his second Grammy nomination with Rachmaninoff Variations, performed Rachmaninoff for his Berlin Philharmonic debut at the orchestra’s New Year’s Eve concerts, aired live in cinemas throughout Europe. He also made debuts with the Melbourne and Sydney Symphony Orchestras, returned to the Los Angeles Philharmonic and Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, and headlined the Munich Philharmonic’s “Rachmaninoff Cycle” tour with Valery Gergiev. He played with the New York Philharmonic, The Cleveland and Philadelphia Orchestras, and Dresden Staatskapelle at home and at the Salzburg Easter Festival and BBC Proms. Other collaborations included Zurich’s Tonhalle, Rotterdam Philharmonic, Mahler Chamber, Houston Symphony, Royal Stockholm Philharmonic, and La Scala orchestras. Also a composer, Mr. Trifonov reprised his own concerto in Kansas City. He made recital debuts at London’s Barbican and Melbourne’s Recital Centre; appeared in Berlin, Vienna, Florence, Madrid, Oslo, and Moscow; and returned to Philadelphia, Baltimore, and New York’s Carnegie Hall. This summer he returns to the Tanglewood, Verbier, Baden-Baden, and Salzburg festivals. Mr. Trifonov began his musical training at age five, and attended Moscow’s Gnessin School of Music and the Cleveland Institute of Music. Other honors include Third Prize in Warsaw’s Chopin Competition, First Prize in Tel Aviv’s Rubinstein Competition, both First Prize and Grand Prix in Moscow’s Tchaikovsky Competition, and the Franco Abbiati Prize for Best Instrumental Soloist. Daniil Trifonov made his New York Philharmonic debut in September–October 2012 performing Prokofiev’s Piano Concerto No. 3, led by Music Director Alan Gilbert; most recently, in November 2016, he performed Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 25, led by Vladimir Jurowski. He joined the Board of the New York Philharmonic in 2015.
Photo: Dario Acosta
Strings take center stage in this sumptuous program, opening with Principal Cello Carter Brey, celebrated for his “elegant phrasing and deft technique,” (New York Times), playing Haydn’s beautifully poised concerto. Souvenir juxtaposes delightful images of the sun-warmed Italian landscape, colored by the burnished sound of a string orchestra, with glorious Russian intensity.
Jazzy, mercurial, and supremely entertaining, Ravel's Piano Concerto in G is a perfect match with Stravinksy’s through-the-looking-glass take on music of a bygone era. Melodies from the Baroque and commedia dell’arte characters retain their original charm, but suffused with harmonic and rhythmic twists that are pure twentieth-century inventiveness.
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. Gates open 60 minutes prior to performances. GRFA 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 appropriate intervals.
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. We expect that bus capacity for each bus will be limited to 40 or fewer people. 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 instructions 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 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 9:00AM to 4:00PM. During the Festival, hours include Saturday & Sunday from 10:00AM to 4:00PM. The Bravo! Vail Box Office can be reached at 877.812.5700.
The Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater box office is open from 11:00AM until concert start time (5:00PM 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 GRFA amphitheater box office located to the right of the main entrance lobby. The box office is open 11:00AM to concert start time during the Festival.
Does Bravo! Vail offer group pricing?
Due to limited audience capacity this summer, we are not offering discounts for groups.
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 can I expect in terms of health and safety protocols?
As permitted by current State of Colorado and Eagle County guidelines, the Bravo! Vail Music Festival is operating at up to 100 percent capacity, without any social distancing or mask requirements. If you are not comfortable with this approach, although we will miss your presence, we ask that you consider not attending at this time and enjoy the programs offered via live stream.
Face coverings at Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater will be optional. All individuals, whether they choose to wear a face covering or not, will be welcomed and respected.
Capacity at performance venues will be at or near 100 percent with no social distancing requirements.
You may also refer to the GRFA policies here.
Will I be required to complete a waiver to attend concerts and events this summer?
What if I misplace or forget to bring my tickets?
There is no charge to reprint tickets. Please call 877.812.5700 before 3:00PM 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. 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.
How can I learn more about the music?
This summer we will be offering each ticket holder household one complimentary copy of our printed program book. You will receive a ticket for your book when you receive your concert tickets. You may redeem your book ticket at any Bravo! Vail concert at the GRFA or Vilar Performing Arts Center to get your copy.
New this year, we are unveiling the Bravo! Vail app, which will allow you to access information contained in the printed program book right on your smartphone. More information on how to download the app will be forthcoming.
Finally, you can find information on each concert's program on our website at bravovail.org.
What should I bring to the concerts?
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 (4-inch legs), and umbrellas are permitted at concerts.
All bags are subject to search (please help us by packing your bag with this in mind).
No oversized bags will be allowed (for example: duffle bags, large backpacking bags, suitcases).
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?
As with the rest of the venue, pandemic protocols will be in place until they are no longer recommended/required by public health. Throughout the Festival season, the venue anticipates returning to a full concessions menu similar to years past. However, capacity limitations may mean that fewer point-of-sale locations are open, until such time that the venue returns to full capacity. We do expect that the touchless credit card payment option will remain in place.
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.
Any forms of audio or video recording (mobile phone, camera, video camera, iPad) are prohibited at these events.
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 email@example.com or 877.812.5700 Mon–Fri 9:00AM–4:00PM (and Sat–Sun 10:00AM-4:00PM during the Festival).
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