THE PHILADELPHIA ORCHESTRA
Nathalie Stutzmann, conductor
Ricardo Morales, clarinet
MAZZOLI Sinfonia (for Orbiting Spheres)
MOZART Concerto for Clarinet in A major, K. 622
MENDELSSOHN Symphony No. 4 in A major, Op. 90, “Italian”
Mozart’s last completed major work truly makes the instrument sing, especially in the hands of Philadelphia’s renowned principal clarinetist. Mendelssohn’s musical postcard of his travels through Italy is widely beloved and considered one of the best examples of his genius.
MAZZOLI: Orbiting Spheres
Sinfonia (for Orbiting Spheres) (2013, rev. 2016)
MISSY MAZZOLI (b.1980)
Missy Mazzoli has composed in many genres, from chamber music to symphonic scores to operas. “To some extent,” she told an interviewer when Sinfonia (for Orbiting Spheres) was played at a 2017 Proms concert in London, “I try to reinvent myself with each piece; I always try to explore a new organizational technique, a different approach to orchestration or texture.”
From 2007-10 she served as executive director of the MATA Festival in New York, a forum advocating for emerging composers, and in 2011-12 she was composer/educator-in-residence at the Albany Symphony. She teaches composition at the Mannes School of Music/The New School in New York and in 2018 began an appointment as the Chicago Symphony’s composer-in-residence. In 2012 she was named composer-in-residence of Opera Philadelphia, and by now has had three operas produced. In 2018 the Metropolitan Opera commissioned her to write a further opera.
“My music is usually composed of strange, dense harmonies and propulsive rhythms,” she explained, “often layered in unexpected ways. I’m interested in unusual instruments like harmonicas, junk percussion, and gently out-of-tune guitars, and I draw on inspirations as diverse as Baroque music, noise, and modern electronica.” Mazzoli shares this comment about the work played here:
Sinfonia (for Orbiting Spheres) is music in the shape of a solar system, a collection of rococo loops that twist around each other within a larger orbit. The word “sinfonia” refers to baroque works for chamber orchestra but also to the old Italian term for a hurdy-gurdy, a medieval stringed instrument with constant, wheezing drones that are cranked out under melodies played on an attached keyboard. It’s a piece that churns and roils, that inches close to the listener only to leap away at breakneck speed, in the process transforming the ensemble … into a makeshift hurdy-gurdy, flung recklessly into space.
MOZART: Concerto for Clarinet in A major, K. 622
Clarinet Concerto in A major, K.622 (1791)
WOLFGANG AMADEUS MOZART (1756-1791)
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was strongly drawn to mid-range instruments, reveling in rich sonorities for their own sake and for their almost vocal qualities of expression. A case in point was his love affair with the clarinet and its lower-pitched sibling the basset horn, which he came to appreciate late in his life through the artistry of Anton Stadler, for whom he composed several works. A staff musician in Vienna’s Imperial Wind Band and, beginning in 1787, the Court Orchestra, Stadler belonged to the same Masonic lodge as Mozart and became one of the composer’s closest friends.
This concerto, the last major piece Mozart completed, was written for the basset clarinet, essentially a standard clarinet to which Stadler affixed an extension to provide four extra notes in its lowest register. Basset clarinets failed to catch on, and when this concerto first appeared in print, in 1801, the publisher altered it to make it playable on clarinets without such an extension. Although its original version can be reconstructed with some speculation, the manuscript being lost, it is far more commonly heard today as a vehicle for the standard clarinet.
A chamber-music quality reigns over the entire concerto, thanks in part to the close integration of soloist and orchestra—the clarinet sometimes serves as an accompanist to the violins, and it never plays an extended cadenza—as well as to the restrained sound of the orchestra itself. The soloist works hard in this concerto. Mozart gives the clarinet few breaks anywhere in the piece and not a single measure in which to relax during the hushed, supernal Adagio. In this valedictory work, Mozart left a testament to happiness and sadness, to hope and resignation, to the realization that such states may represent not distinct polarities but rather concurrent aspects of a deeper truth.
MENDELSSOHN: Symphony No. 4 in A major, Op. 90, “Italian”
Symphony No. 4 in A major, Op. 90, Italian (1831-33)
FELIX MENDELSSOHN (1809-47)
The inspiration for this symphony was a trip Felix Mendelssohn took to Italy in 1830-31, not long after the visit to Scotland that inspired his Hebrides Overture and Scottish Symphony. Following a two-week visit with the literary lion Goethe in Weimar—the last time he would see his much older friend—he continued south to spend time in Venice, Florence, Rome, Naples, Genoa, and Milan. Writing from Rome, he reported: “I have once more begun to compose with fresh vigor, and the Italian symphony makes rapid progress; it will be the happiest piece I have ever written, especially the last movement. I have not yet decided on the Adagio, and think I shall reserve it for Naples.” He related that the new work was meant to embody not only impressions of the art and landscape but also the vitality of the people.
Distractions delayed his completing the symphony, but impetus to move forward with it arrived in November of 1832, when the Philharmonic Society in London offered him a generous commission for a new symphony, an overture, and a vocal composition. Mendelssohn wasted little time moving ahead and completed the symphony in four months. It proved hugely successful at its premiere, but the composer had misgivings and began tinkering with the score, despite the objections of his closest musical confidants. Mendelssohn wrestled with the score for years, claiming that the Italian Symphony cost him “some of the bitterest moments I have ever endured.” He never allowed it to be played in Germany during his lifetime. At his death, he left sketches for extensive revisions, which few scholars or conductors have accepted as improving on his original conception. The piece seems perfectly balanced as it is, and audiences have embraced it completely, making it one of his most perennially popular works.
Nathalie Stutzmann (conductor) begins her tenure as the Philadelphia Orchestra’s Principal Guest Conductor this coming season.
Ricardo Morales (clarinet), a native of San Juan, joined the Philadelphia Orchestra as principal clarinet in 2003 and made his solo debut with the Orchestra in 2004.
Nathalie Stutzmann (conductor) begins her tenure as the Philadelphia Orchestra’s Principal Guest Conductor this coming season. She is Chief Conductor of Norway’s Kristiansand Symphony Orchestra, and was Principal Guest Conductor of Ireland’s RTE National Symphony Orchestra from 2017 to 2020. Upcoming guest conductor stints include the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic, Atlanta Symphony, San Francisco Symphony, Minnesota Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Seattle Symphony, Pittsburgh Symphony, Orchestre Métropolitain Montreal, London Symphony, and Royal Liverpool Philharmonic. A highly acclaimed contralto, she makes her Metropolitan Opera conducting debut in 2021-22. She is a Chevalier in her native France’s “Légion d’Honneur.”
Photo: Simon Fowler
Ricardo Morales (clarinet), a native of San Juan, joined the Philadelphia Orchestra as principal clarinet in 2003 and made his solo debut with the Orchestra in 2004. Previously he was principal clarinet of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, with which he soloed at Carnegie Hall. With the U.S. Marine Band, he recorded Jonathan Leshnoff’s Clarinet Concerto, commissioned for him by the Philadelphia Orchestra. He has been a featured soloist with the Chicago Symphony, among several other orchestras. His recent recordings include a performance with the Pacifica Quartet, which was nominated for a Latin Grammy Award.
Discover the “majestic control” (Bachtrack) and “great musical intelligence” (Concerto) of Nathalie Stutzmann, and a concerto by Joseph Bologne championed by Gil Shaham who declares it “a perfect vehicle for a violinist.” Finally, Beethoven’s ebullient Seventh Symphony, summed up by Tchaikovsky as “full of bliss and pleasure of life.”
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or 877.812.5700 Mon–Fri 9:00AM–4:00PM (and Sat–Sun 10:00AM-4:00PM during the Festival).
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