THE PHILADELPHIA ORCHESTRA
Stéphane Denève, conductor
Jean-Efflam Bavouzet, piano
RAVEL Pavane pour une infante défunte
BEETHOVEN Piano Concerto No. 2 in B-flat major, Op. 19
RAVEL Le Tombeau de Couperin
PROKOFIEV Symphony No. 1, Op. 25, “Classical”
This beautifully balanced program leads listeners from profound emotional depths to irrepressible bursts of merriment. Beethoven’s Piano Concerto is a jovial exchange between orchestra and soloist, while Ravel draws on the graceful elegance of Baroque dances to create a musical post-war memorial. Prokofiev wittily juxtaposes his own daring musical language with elegant Mozartian gestures.
RAVEL: Pavane pour une infante défunte
Pavane pour une Infante défunte (Pavane for a Dead Infanta) (1899, orch. 1910)
MAURICE RAVEL (1875-1937)
In 1899, the 24-year-old Maurice Ravel was learning to navigate the salon culture that was central to Parisian musical life. Attendees were intrigued by his emotional inscrutability. “Is he pleased to hear his music?” Madame René de Saint-Marceaux wrote in her diary after one of her at-home gatherings. “One can’t tell. What a strange chap. Talented, with so much mischievousness.” He progressed to the socially stratospheric salon of the Princesse de Polignac; he probably played his Pavane as a piano solo there, since he dedicated the piece to her. Following its high-profile public premiere, at a concert of the Société Nationale de Musique, the Pavane was judged to be “elegant and charming.”
It proved immensely popular, so much so that its composer grew to dismiss it as an “inconclusive and conventional work.” He nonetheless esteemed it enough to orchestrate it in 1910 and to perform it himself for a piano-roll recording in 1922. The title is usually rendered in English as “Pavane for a Dead Princess,” but Ravel pointedly uses the word infante (infanta, the daughter of a reigning Iberian king) rather than princesse. In any case, the title was selected less for its meaning than for its sound. Ravel’s pupil Roland-Manuel quoted him as insisting, “When I put together the words which make up this title, my only thought was the pleasure of alliteration.”
BEETHOVEN: Piano Concerto No. 2 in B-flat major, Op. 19
Piano Concerto No. 2 in B-flat major, Op. 19 (ca. 1788-1801)
LUDWIG VAN BEETHOVEN (1770-1827)
Ludwig van Beethoven was already gaining notice as a pianist when he moved from his native Bonn to Vienna in 1792, bringing in his baggage the preliminary work he had done on his Piano Concerto in B-flat major. It was probably the work he completed just in time to play as a charity concert at Vienna’s Burgtheater in 1795. Franz Gerhard Wegeler, a friend visiting from Bonn, related that “not until the afternoon of the second day before the concert did he write the rondo, and then while suffering from a pretty severe colic which frequently afflicted him. … In the anteroom sat four copyists to whom he handed sheet after sheet as soon as it was finished.”
Anyone writing a piano concerto in Vienna just then did so in the shadow of the late lamented Mozart. Beethoven here employs the Mozartian norm of three movements, of which the first is a sonata form with an orchestral exposition, the second a lyrical slow movement, and the third a rondo. The approach is truly orchestral, following the Mozartian ideal of an integrated texture in which the piano plays the role of first among equals. Nonetheless, the pianist keeps plenty busy; and if the finger-work sounds not quite Mozartian, the fact remains that, in this early Beethoven concerto, the apple has not fallen far from the tree.
RAVEL: Le Tombeau de Couperin
Le tombeau de Couperin (1914-17/1919)
MAURICE RAVEL (1875-1937)
At first exempted from World War I military service due to his stature and weight (five-foot-three and 108 pounds), Ravel managed to get assigned to the front lines at Verdun in 1916, as a driver in the Army Motor Transport Corps. His eagerness to serve may have exceeded his skill behind the wheel, as his correspondence reveals several incidents of one-car fender-benders. After periods of illness and depression forced his withdrawal from service, he gradually started composing again.
Le tombeau de Couperin embraced that period of his life. In a 1914 letter to his pupil Roland-Manuel, Ravel reported: “I’m beginning … a French Suite—no, it’s not what you think—the Marseillaise doesn’t come into it at all but there’ll be a forlane and a jig; not a tango, though.” He later explained, “The homage is directed less in fact to Couperin himself than to French music of the eighteenth century.” By the time he finished it, what had started as a celebration of French musical tradition had become a personal memorial, its movements individually dedicated to friends lost in combat. Originally comprising six pieces for solo piano, Ravel orchestrated four of the movements in 1919. Roland-Manuel observed of the new setting that “strict necessity governs every move” and “with extreme economy and simplicity Ravel obtains translucence and variety of color throughout the whole work.”
PROKOFIEV: Symphony No. 1, Op. 25, “Classical”
Symphony No. 1 in D major, Op. 25, Classical (1916-17)
SERGEI PROKOFIEV (1891-1953)
During Sergei Prokofiev’s student years in Russia, composers-in-training were rarely counseled to study the Viennese Classicists as models of style. His conducting professor at the St. Petersburg Conservatory, Nikolai Tcherepnin, was a contrarian in this regard, encouraging his students to immerse themselves in Haydn and Mozart. A happy result was Prokofiev’s Symphony No. 1, premiered in 1918, just before he left his politically explosive homeland for a very extended residence in America and Western Europe. “It seemed to me that if Haydn had lived into this era,” Prokofiev later wrote, “he would have kept his own style while absorbing things from what was new in music. That’s the kind of symphony I wanted to write: a symphony in the Classical style.”
Prokofiev’s four movements are so compact that the entire piece adds up to just fifteen minutes—considerably shorter than most symphonies of Mozart’s and Haydn’s maturity. His writing shows striking originality. The opening Allegro, for example, may bustle through a Classically precise sonata form (though without repeating the opening exposition), but it is filled with crisp irony that evokes later Prokofiev just as easily as it does Haydn. In bestowing the work’s subtitle, Prokofiev explained that he hoped to honor his Classical predecessors and also that he “secretly hoped that in the course of time it might itself turn out to be a classic.”
Stéphane Denève is the Principal Guest Conductor of The Philadelphia Orchestra.
Jean-Efflam Bavouzet (piano), a native of France, regularly performs with such orchestras as the Cleveland Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony, London Philharmonic, BBC Symphony, and NHK Symphony.
Stéphane Denève is currently in his sixth season as principal guest conductor of The Philadelphia Orchestra. He spends multiple weeks each year with the ensemble, conducting subscription, tour, and summer concerts. Mr. Denève has become very well known to audiences at Verizon Hall, the Mann Center, the Saratoga Performing Arts Center, and the Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater in Vail, having appeared as guest conductor numerous times since making his debut in 2007. He has led more programs than any other guest conductor during that time period, in repertoire that has spanned more than 100 works, ranging from Classical through the contemporary, including presentations with dance, theater, film, and cirque performers.
He is also the Music Director of the Brussels Philharmonic and the St. Louis Symphony 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 programmes 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.
Photo credit: Bart Dewaele
Jean-Efflam Bavouzet (piano), a native of France, regularly performs with such orchestras as the Cleveland Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony, London Philharmonic, BBC Symphony, and NHK Symphony. His continuing collaboration with Manchester Camerata recently included an extensive tour of China. He appeared at Carnegie Hall as part of a major North American tour with the London Philharmonic under Vladimir Jurowski. He has given recitals at the Louvre, Wigmore Hall, and the Verbier Festival. The pianist records exclusively for Chandos, and his recordings have garnered Gramophone Awards, BBC Music Magazine Awards, a Diapason d’Or and Choc de l’année.
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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