Vilar Performing Arts Center, Beaver Creek
Mon-Fri, 9am-4pm For Assistance
Christina Naughton, piano
Michelle Naughton, piano
BERNSTEIN Selections from Candide
BRAHMS Variations on a Theme by Haydn, Op. 56b
RAVEL La Valse
BERNSTEIN: Selections from Candide
Selections from Candide (1954-56; arr. C. Harmon, 1994)
LEONARD BERNSTEIN (1918-90)
Throughout his career, Leonard Bernstein struggled to balance the competing demands of his gifts as composer, conductor, pianist, media personality, and all-round celebrity. He concentrated on theatre pieces most assiduously during the first part of his career, in the 1940s and ’50s, but he continued composing and refining stage works until practically the end of his life. His operetta Candide, based on the 18th-century novella by Voltaire, proved to be an ongoing challenge. It played for 73 performances in its first Broadway run in 1956-57—hardly a stunning success—and the composer altered the piece again and again for later revivals, with its text being reworked by a succession of librettists. In all its versions, it tells the tale of wide-eyed Candide, whose trips to distant points of the globe invariably turn into dismal misadventures, much though he may be assured by his idealistic tutor that all is for the best in the best of all possible worlds. Bernstein said that his score was a valentine to European music. Traditional light-opera forms populate the piece—sometimes parodistically, sometimes not. Often the references are modernized through infectious, off-kilter rhythms: gavotte, mazurka, polka (“We are Women”), schottische (“Bon Voyage”), tango (“I am Easily Assimilated”).
Charlie Harmon worked with Bernstein for four years in the 1980s, fulfilling the roles of (as his memoirs put it) “social director, gatekeeper, valet, music copyist, and itinerant orchestra librarian.” After Bernstein’s death he spent a decade editing his operatic scores for publication. In 1994, he published his own arrangements, for piano four-hands, of ten numbers from Candide. We hear all ten movements here, beginning with the quicksilver Overture, passing through a variety of delicious arias and ensembles, and concluding with “Make our Garden Grow,” an ode to optimism and one of the most uplifting of operatic finales.
BRAHMS: Variations on a Theme by Haydn, Op. 56b
Variations on a Theme by Haydn, Op. 56b (1873)
JOHANNES BRAHMS (1833-97)
Johannes Brahms was fascinated by the music of earlier times. In 1870, his friend Carl Ferdinand Pohl showed him the manuscript of a set of six Feldparthien identified on their score as by the Classical master Franz Joseph Haydn. Brahms was so taken by the second movement of the first piece in the set—a movement labeled “Chorale St. Antoni”—that he copied it for his library. Three years later this forthright piece served as the basis for his Variations on a Theme by Haydn, which in turn, made the “Chorale St. Antoni” one of Haydn’s most famous tunes. Later musicological research determined that the “Chorale St. Antoni” and the Feldparthie in which it appeared—indeed, the entire set of pieces Pohl had stumbled across—turned out not to be by Haydn at all, although just who did write it remains uncertain. In any case, its rhythm and harmony endow it with a distinctive character. To a composer of Brahms’ sensibilities, it leapt from the page as a worthy candidate upon which to develop variations.
He began composing the piece while vacationing at Germany’s Starnberger See in the summer of 1873, initially sketching it in a version for two pianos. Nonetheless, he told his publisher, Fritz Simrock, that the movements were “actually variations for orchestra”; and it was as an orchestral work that the Haydn Variations reached its completion late that summer. The work was premiered on November 2, 1873, in Vienna, with Brahms himself conducting, and it was received tumultuously by the audience. But Brahms had simultaneously worked out the two-piano version of the piece, which was first heard on February 10, 1874. The composer published both—the orchestral setting as Op. 56a, the two-piano version as Op. 56b—and never professed a preference for one over the other.
RAVEL: La valse
La valse (1919-20)
MAURICE RAVEL (1875-1937)
An adept pianist who always composed at the keyboard, Maurice Ravel was also a brilliant orchestrator who created meticulous symphonic textures. The keyboard and the orchestra exerted roughly equal pull on him, such that he made parallel piano and orchestral versions of nearly half his compositions. He wrote La valse as a symphonic score, but it was premiered in the two-piano version he prepared almost simultaneously, with Ravel and Alfredo Casella unveiling it at a 1920 concert of Arnold Schoenberg’s Society for Private Musical Performances in Vienna seven weeks before the orchestral original was premiered in Paris. He also made an arrangement for solo piano at about the same time. As early as 1906, Ravel started thinking about creating a musical tribute to Johann Strauss II, intending to title it Wien (Vienna). After World War I came and went, the gaiety of the Viennese ballroom could no longer be presented without knowing comment, and the piece turned into a sort of danse macabre with a sinister, fatalistic ending.
Born in Princeton, New Jersey to parents of European and Chinese descent, Christina and Michelle Naughton are graduates of the Juilliard School and the Curtis Institute of Music, where they were each awarded the Festorazzi Prize.
Born in Princeton, New Jersey to parents of European and Chinese descent, Christina and Michelle Naughton are graduates of the Juilliard School and the Curtis Institute of Music, where they were each awarded the Festorazzi Prize. Their professional career was launched in 2010 with debuts at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC, and the Mann Center for Performing Arts with the Philadelphia Orchestra. Subsequently they have appeared in at major festivals and in prestigious concert halls across the globe. The Naughtons released their first album, "Piano Duets," on the German label Orfeo in 2012. The sisters signed an exclusive recording contract with Warner Classics which released their second album, "Visions,” in March 2016; and their third album "American Postcard" in March 2019.
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.
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.
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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