Vilar Performing Arts Center, Beaver Creek
Mon-Fri, 9am-4pm For Assistance
Edgar Meyer, double bass
J.S. BACH Suite No. 1 in G major, BMV 1007
MEYER Work in Progress for unaccompanied double bass
BACH Suite No. 1 in G major, BWV 1007
Unaccompanied Suite No. 1 in G major, BWV 1007 (1720s?)
JOHANN SEBASTIAN BACH (1685-1750)
Johann Sebastian Bach’s six Suites for Unaccompanied Cello occupy a hallowed spot at the summit of that instrument’s literature. They have often been transcribed for other instruments, of which the double bass is the most obvious candidate. The two instruments have divergent genealogies, tune their strings differently, and offer distinct technical challenges, but for a listener it is enough to recognize that the double bass generally sounds an octave lower than the cello and that together the two instruments make up the bass and tenor contingent in the family of bowed strings.
We know little about the origins of Bach’s unaccompanied suites since his autograph score apparently has not survived, early sources being limited to four copies in other hands. The first of these seems to get us closest to the composer, as it was written out in Leipzig by his second wife, Anna Magdalena, sometime in the span of about 1727-31, probably at the request of a former pupil of Bach’s who had moved from Leipzig to Wolfenbüttel. Comparisons of the four sources yields many textual variants, even to the point of suggesting that Bach went on developing some of these pieces after completing them in their provisional state.
Although the existing sources date from Bach’s time in Leipzig, where he moved in 1723, at least portions of these works were probably composed earlier, perhaps during his Weimar period (1708-17) or, more likely, when he was Kapellmeister to the music-loving Prince Leopold of Anhalt-Cöthen (1717-23). Bach produced many of his important instrumental pieces in Cöthen, and attributing these suites to that period invites the possibility that they were composed for either of two cellists who were among Bach’s colleagues there, Christian Ferdinand Abel or Christian Bernard Leinicke.
Each of the suites opens with a freely composed prelude. From their origins as short improvisations to ascertain that instruments were properly tuned and to set the key of an ensuing piece in the listener’s ear, preludes had grown by the 18th century into virtuosic demonstrations of inventiveness. The G-major Suite accordingly opens with a spacious Prelude that unfolds out of widely arpeggiated chords. The other movements in these suites are all dances at heart, vivacious in their rhythms and forthright in their melodies, but they also display contrapuntal subtlety, sometimes achieved by playing multiple notes at once, sometimes merely suggested through the voicing of the music. The G-major Suite continues through a solid Allemande, a sprightly Courante, and a pensive Sarabande. The two Minuets are fused into a single span—the first, then the second, then a da capo repetition of the first—after which the work ends with a good-humored Gigue.
EDGAR MEYER Work in Progress for unaccompanied double bass
Work in Progress for unaccompanied double bass
EDGAR MEYER (b.1960)
The annals of double bass virtuosos reach back to such superstars as Domenico Dragonetti (1763-1846) and Giovanni Bottesini (1821-89), both of whom enriched the instrument’s repertoire with their compositions. It includes double bassists who gained greater prominence as conductors, such as Serge Koussevitzky and Zubin Mehta, and some who are more famous as composers, like H.K. Gruber and Gavin Bryars (who, curiously, were born less than two weeks apart in 1943). Edgar Meyer began his path into the annals at the age of five, when he started learning the double bass from his father. He continued his studies at Indiana University and rose quickly through the ranks. From 1986-92 he was a member of the progressive bluegrass band Strength in Numbers, and in 1994 he was named an artist of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Society, an affiliation that continues to this day. In 1994 he was also awarded an Avery Fisher Career Grant and in 2000 the still more select Avery Fisher Prize, in both cases the first double bassist so honored. Ensuing accolades include a MacArthur Fellowship in 2002 and five Grammy awards, most recently in 2015 for the recording Bass & Mandolin, a collaboration with the mandolinist Chris Thile.
“Most of the music I’ve become interested in is hybrid in its origins,” Meyer has said. “Classical music, of course, is unbelievably hybrid. Jazz is an obvious amalgam. Bluegrass comes from 18th-century Scottish and Irish folk music that made contact with the blues. By exploring music, you’re exploring everything.” His compositions have been written for performers in all of those domains—classical music-makers like violinist Joshua Bell, the Emerson String Quartet, and the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra; world-music performers like tabla-player Zakir Hussain; and avant-garde bluegrass musicians like banjo-player Béla Fleck. He offers this comment about the “Work in Progress” he performs in this concert:
I have wanted for a while to compose a piece for unaccompanied bass that is different from other pieces that I have written before. I wanted to attempt a larger form and language that is slightly more complex than I have used in shorter pieces or that I could improvise. Although I have not finished this piece, there is enough written to be able to present a working version. This current version has opening and closing movements that are complete for the moment. In between them there will be one or two movements yet to be written that may or may not include the second movement that I will use tonight, and the outer movements may end up modified somewhat in reaction to whatever happens with the middle movements or just to correct existing flaws. In the meantime, I am excited to present a “Work in Progress.”
"The most remarkable virtuoso in the relatively un-chronicled history of his instrument." —The New Yorker
In demand as both a performer and a composer, Edgar Meyer has formed a role in the music world unlike any other. Hailed by The New Yorker as “...the most remarkable virtuoso in the relatively un-chronicled history of his instrument”, Mr. Meyer’s unparalleled technique and musicianship in combination with his gift for composition have brought him to the fore, where he is appreciated by a vast, varied audience. His uniqueness in the field was recognized by a MacArthur Award in 2002.
As a solo classical bassist, Mr. Meyer can be heard on a concerto album with the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra conducted by Hugh Wolff featuring Bottesini’s Gran Duo with Joshua Bell, Meyer’s own Double Concerto for Bass and Cello with Yo-Yo Ma, Bottesini’s Bass Concerto No. 2, and Meyer’s own Concerto in D for Bass. He has also recorded an album featuring three of Bach’s Unaccompanied Suites for Cello. In 2006, he released a self-titled solo recording on which he wrote and recorded all of the music, incorporating piano, guitar, mandolin, dobro, banjo, gamba, and double bass. In 2007, recognizing his wide-ranging recording achievements, Sony/BMG released a compilation of The Best of Edgar Meyer. In 2011 Mr. Meyer joined cellist Yo-Yo Ma, mandolinist Chris Thile, and fiddler Stuart Duncan for the Sony Masterworks recording “The Goat Rodeo Sessions” which was awarded the 2012 Grammy® Award for Best Folk Album.
As a composer, Mr. Meyer has carved out a remarkable and unique niche in the musical world. One of his most recent compositions is the Double Concerto for Double Bass and Violin which received its world premiere July 2012 with Joshua Bell at the Tanglewood Music Festival with the Boston Symphony Orchestra. Mr. Meyer and Mr. Bell have also performed the work at the Hollywood Bowl with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Aspen Music Festival, and with the Nashville and Toronto symphony orchestras. In the 2011-12 season, Mr. Meyer was composer in residence with the Alabama Symphony where he premiered his third concerto for double bass and orchestra. Mr. Meyer has collaborated with Béla Fleck and Zakir Hussain to write a triple concerto for double bass, banjo, and tabla, which was commissioned for the opening of the Schermerhorn Symphony Center in Nashville. The triple concerto was recorded with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra under Leonard Slatkin and featured on the 2009 recording The Melody of Rhythm, a collection of trio pieces all co-composed by Mr. Meyer, Mr. Fleck and Mr. Hussain. Mr. Meyer has performed his second double bass concerto with the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra and his first double bass concerto with Edo de Waart and the Minnesota Orchestra. Other compositions of Mr. Meyer’s include a violin/piano work which has been performed by Joshua Bell at New York’s Lincoln Center, a quintet for bass and string quartet premiered with the Emerson String Quartet and recorded on Deutsche Grammophon, a Double Concerto for Bass and Cello premiered with Yo-Yo Ma and The Boston Symphony Orchestra under Seiji Ozawa, and a violin concerto written for Hilary Hahn which was premiered and recorded by Ms. Hahn with the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra led by Hugh Wolff.
Collaborations are a central part of Mr. Meyer’s work. His longtime collaboration with fellow MacArthur Award recipient Chris Thile continued in 2014 with the release on Nonesuch Records a recording of all new original material by the two genre bending artists, a follow up to their very successful 2008 cd/dvd on Nonesuch. Mr. Meyer and Mr. Thile embarked on a nationwide tour in Fall 2014, appearing in many of the major cities in the US. Mr. Meyer’s previous performing and recording collaborations include a duo with Béla Fleck; a quartet with Joshua Bell, Sam Bush and Mike Marshall; a trio with Béla Fleck and Mike Marshall; and a trio with Yo-Yo Ma and Mark O’Connor. The latter collaborated for the 1996 Appalachia Waltz release which soared to the top of the charts and remained there for 16 weeks. Appalachia Waltz toured extensively in the U.S., and the trio was featured both on the David Letterman Show and the televised 1997 Inaugural Gala. Joining together again in 2000, the trio toured Europe, Asia and the US extensively and recorded a follow up recording to Appalachia Waltz, Appalachian Journey, which was honored with a Grammy® Award. In the 2006-2007 season, Mr. Meyer premiered a piece for double bass and piano performed with Emanuel Ax. Mr. Meyer also performs with pianist Amy Dorfman, his longtime collaborator for solo recitals featuring both classical repertoire and his own compositions, Mike Marshall in duo concerts and the trio with Béla Fleck and Zakir Hussain which has toured the US, Europe and Asia together.
Mr. Meyer began studying bass at the age of five under the instruction of his father and continued further to study with Stuart Sankey. In 1994 he received the Avery Fisher Career Grant and in 2000 became the only bassist to receive the Avery Fisher Prize. Currently, he is Visiting Professor of Double Bass at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia.
Photo credit: Jim McGuire
One of the world’s foremost Debussy interpreters, Jean-Efflam Bavouzet has taken this inventive ballet score, featuring a playfully erotic and harmonically complex game of tennis, and created a two-piano transcription astounding for its colorful, audacious interplay.
This “marvelous ensemble” (New York Times) is joined by Bravo! Vail’s artistic director for Schumann’s groundbreaking piano quintet, which combined the forces of piano with string quartet for the first time, pioneering a new genre of chamber music "suspended between private and public spheres." Mendelssohn’s early work pays homage to Beethoven’s own groundbreaking late string quartets.
Where are the Chamber Music Series performances held?
For 2021, the Bravo! Vail Chamber Music Series concerts at held at Vilar Performing Arts Center, located at 68 Avondale Ln, Beaver Creek, CO 81620
What time do performances begin?
Concerts start promptly at 7:00PM. Doors open 30 minutes prior. Give yourself plenty of time to park and get to the venue. Latecomers will be escorted to seats by ushers at appropriate intervals.
Where do I park for Chamber Music Series performances?
Free Parking in Beaver Creek Village
Free parking is available in both the Villa Montane and Ford Hall parking lots for each VPAC winter performance. Parking is subject to availability and free with Bravo! Vail concert ticket and valid parking stub. Parking is available to ticket holders 2 hours before show time and up to 30 minutes post show. To receive free parking simply take a standard parking ticket at Villa Montane or Ford Hall parking structures upon arrival then when leaving, show your Bravo! Vail ticket stub + valid parking ticket to the attendant.
$20 Valet Service
Valet parking will be available for $20 on the parking island next to the buses near the VPAC front door.
For more information, click here for VPAC parking details.
How long do concerts last?
Concerts generally last 90 minutes to 2 hours. No intermissions for Chamber Concerts this year.
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. Tickets are also sold at VPAC one hour prior to concert.
Where is the Will Call window?
Will Call tickets may be picked up one hour prior to the concert in the Box Office area.
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.
Face coverings at the Vilar Performing Arts Center 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 click here for VPAC policies too.
Will I be required to complete a waiver to attend concerts and events this summer?
All ticket reservations are subject to our 2021 Ticket Purchase Terms, available HERE. These terms include important waivers, releases, and limitations on liability. By reserving a ticket, you agree to the Ticket Purchase Terms.
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 from the Box Office at the venue.
What is the seating plan?
Seating for Chamber Series concerts at VPAC is reserved and assigned, not general admission.
What food and beverages are available at the concert?
Food and beverages including beer and wine are available for purchase at VPAC prior to the concert. More information can be found from the VPAC website.
What is the Chamber Music Series child policy?
Bravo! Vail’s small ensemble concerts are very intimate. We strongly recommend parents bring children aged six or older who are able to sit quietly through the entire performance.
What should I wear?
There is no dress code for concerts.
What are some general rules of Chamber Music Series concert etiquette?
Please allow ample time for parking and seating. Concert attendees must silence all mobile devices prior to performances to avoid disrupting musicians and other patrons. Please limit conversations and other noisy activities during the performance. We recommend eating prior to the concert. 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.
Photographing performances (with no flash) is permitted during concerts, only if there is no disruption/distraction to fellow audience members or performers.
What if I lose something at the concert?
Call the Bravo! Vail Box Office at 970.827.5700 or the VPAC box office at 970.845.8497.
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