$45 General Admission
Edwards Interfaith Chapel
Mon-Fri, 9am-4pm For Assistance
Adam Barnett-Hart, violin
Brendan Speltz, violin
Pierre LaPointe, viola
Brook Speltz, cello
BARTÓK String Quartet No. 2
BARTÓK String Quartet No. 4
BARTÓK String Quartet No. 6
Bartók’s even-numbered quartets punctuate turning points in his life and the wider world. Thoughtful and direct, this is music filled with strange beauty and restless rumination.
Pre-Concert Talk at 6:00PM
Concert at 7:00PM
BARTÓK String Quartet No. 2, Sz. 67, BB 75
String Quartet No. 2, Op. 17 (1914-17)
BÉLA BARTÓK (1881-1945)
Frank Whitaker, a British journalist who in 1926 embarked on a biography of Béla Bartók but failed to get beyond the first chapter, did manage to contribute a description of him to a BBC publication in 1932:
Béla Bartók is a quiet little man with a springy walk and a complexion like faded parchment. His lean, alert face suggests the man of forty, his white hair and scholar’s stoop the man of sixty. … His brown eyes shine like sunlight in a witchball, and seem to expand as his interest in a subject grows. He has a trick of tilting his head back as he talks. He speaks English and French fairly well and German fluently, in addition to his native Hungarian. The English words he uses oftenest to describe his music are “provoking” and “unaccustomed.” For instance, he will say, “My Bagatelles were my first provoking work,” or “My second string quartet was too unaccustomed for the public of the day.”
His String Quartet No. 2 must reflect its composer’s state of mind during World War I. Bartók was deeply affected by the outbreak of the War in the summer of 1914. Several months later, on October 30, he wrote to his friend Rev. Sámuel Bobál, a Slovak minister: “I also belong to the age-group which is to be called up for military service. There’s a good chance that I shall be rejected on health grounds. But nowadays there’s no knowing anything in advance.” In fact, he did receive a medical deferment and instead was assigned by the state to collect folksongs from soldiers—a mission that agreed with him perfectly. He continued to be productive as a composer, and even under straitened circumstances he continued to see some of his musical colleagues. In the Second String Quartet we find Bartók working in a freely chromatic and rhythmically complex idiom, meticulously molding his themes and motives into tight, rigorous musical arguments. The relationships of tempos among the work’s movements are unorthodox compared to the progressive acceleration of the First Quartet: a Moderato leading to an Allegro molto capriccioso and then to a concluding Lento. Bartók’s colleague Zoltán Kodály described the three movements as “1.) A quiet life; 2.) Joy; 3.) Sorrow.” Otherwise put, it is a progression that may first evoke normalcy, then what Bartók described as his “devil-may-care” exhilaration (and, in the brief middle episode of the second movement, outright nonchalance), and finally his lamenting depression over the sad state of things.
BARTÓK String Quartet No. 4, Sz. 91, BB 95
String Quartet No. 4 (1928)
Though not as “abstract” as the Third (heard yesterday), the athletic, dissonant Fourth Quartet shares its general musical vocabulary, to the extent that some commentators view it as continuing the conversation begun in the Third. We mentioned Bartók’s partiality to symmetrical “arch” forms in connection with the Fifth Quartet, and here it is also in the Fourth. The piece is a sort of palindrome, with the first and fifth movements (both being Allegros) bearing some kinship, the second and fourth similarly reflecting each other (both are scherzos), and the relaxed third standing as a fulcrum in the middle, its ternary A-B-A layout serving as an exquisite turnabout for the symmetry of the entire Quartet. In this middle movement, the cello sings out a highly ornamented melody that musicologists have identified as Bartók’s original take on Hungarian or Rumanian folk laments. Bartók rarely offered commentary about his music, but he did describe his Quartet No. 4 matter-of-factly in an essay:
The work is in five movements; their character corresponds to Classical sonata form. The slow movement is the kernel of the work; the other movements are, as it were, arranged in layers around it. Movement IV is a free variation of II, and I and V have the same thematic material; that is, around the kernel (Movement III), metaphorically speaking, I and V are the outer, II and IV the inner layers.
BARTÓK String Quartet No. 6, Sz. 114, BB 119
String Quartet No. 6 (1939)
Bartók’s life was increasingly uneasy when he worked on his Quartet No. 6. Although Hungary did not officially join the Axis alliance until a year into World War II, the encroaching conflict struck a blow to the composer’s humanitarian spirit. His work as an ethnomusicologist brought him close to ethnic minorities, the sort of groups whose lives became untenable during the War. Bartók’s beloved mother was in rapidly failing health; she would die just a month after he finished this piece. He mourned her profoundly, but with her passing he no longer had a compelling reason to remain in his native Hungary. In October 1940 he moved to the United States to spend the rest of his life, most of it unhappy. The Sixth Quartet is therefore sometimes interpreted as both bitter farewell to the European political tragedy and cathartic leave-taking of his mother. Each of the four movements begins with an introduction that is slow and sad—literally, since he heads them with the marking Mesto (“sad”). Each of the introductions grows from the same material into something progressively longer, more complex, and more richly textured. By the last movement, the Mesto turns out not to be an introduction at all, instead consuming the entire finale. This is the most authentic expression of Bartók’s sorrow, which may elsewhere be disguised as satire or mere melancholy. Rarely in chamber music does a movement combine restraint and powerful expression to achieve an impact as profound as Bartók does here, at the conclusion of his last quartet.
The Escher String Quartet, formed in 2005, comprise Adam Barnett-Hart and Brendan Speltz, violins, Pierre Lapointe, viola, and Brook Speltz, cello.
The Escher String Quartet, formed in 2005, comprise Adam Barnett-Hart and Brendan Speltz, violins, Pierre Lapointe, viola, and Brook Speltz, cello. Members of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, they toured with that group to China. The Escher was invited by Pinchas Zukerman and Itzhak Perlman to be Quartet in Residence at each artist’s summer festival, and is now string quartet in residence at Southern Methodist University. For the BIS label the quartet has recorded the complete Mendelssohn quartets and quartets by Dvorák, Borodin, and Tchaikovsky, and recorded the Zemlinsky quartets for Naxos.
Providing context for the monumental quartets, Bartók’s youthful passion and ambition is already evident in his early Piano Quintet. Selections from the 44 Violin Duos explore the full range of both folk and classical traditions that shaped his distinctive voice.
Partners in life and in music for almost 40 years, this irrepressible power couple of the chamber music world has won international acclaim for their “eloquent and deeply committed performances” (New York Times) as well as “glamour and theatrical flair [and] superb musical insight” (Washington Post).
Where are Immersive Experiences concerts held?
For 2021, the Bravo! Vail Immersive Experiences are held at the Edwards Interfaith Chapel at 32138 Highway 6, Edwards, CO 81632.
Where do I park for the concerts?
Free parking is available onsite.
What time do the performances take place?
Optional Pre-Concert Talks begin at 6:00PM and concerts start promptly at 7:00PM. Doors open at 5:30PM. Please allow plenty of time to park and get to the venue. Latecomers will be escorted to seats by ushers at appropriate intervals.
How long do concerts last?
Pre-Concert Talks last approximately 45 minutes, the musical performances generally last 80-90 minutes with a scheduled 10-minute intermission.
How do I buy tickets?
Tickets may be purchased in the following ways:
1. Online at bravovail.org
2. By calling the box office 877.812.5700
3. Pending availability, in person at the entrance of the Edwards Interfaith Chapel starting at 5:00PM
What are 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 is located in West Vail at 2271 N Frontage Rd W, Vail CO 81657 and can be reached at 877.812.5700. Space permitting, tickets will also be sold at the entrance of the Edwards Interfaith Chapel starting at 5:00PM.
Where is the Will Call window?
Will Call tickets may be picked up before the concert at the door of the Edwards Interfaith Chapel starting at 5:00PM.
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 Edwards Interfaith Chapel 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.
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?
Call the Box Office before 3:00PM the day of the concert to reprint your tickets. Starting at 5:00PM, Box Office staff can also reprint tickets at the entrance of the Edwards Interfaith Chapel.
What is the seating plan?
Seating for Immersive Experiences is general admission.
Are food and beverages available at the concert?
Concessions will be open starting with the doors at 5:30PM. They will remain open through concert start, and then again at intermission. Concessions offered include bar service and snacks.
What should I wear?
There is no dress code for concerts.
What are some general rules of Immersive Experiences 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 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.
Photographing performances (with no flash) is permitted during concerts, only if there is no disruption/distraction to fellow audience members or performers.
What is the Immersive Experiences 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 if I lose something at the concert?
Call Bravo! Vail Box Office at 970.827.5700 or the Edwards Interfaith Chapel staff at 970.926.3388.
What if I still have questions?
Please contact the Box Office at 877.812.5700 Mon–Fri 9:00AM–4:00PM (and Sat–Sun 10:00AM-4:00PM during the Festival).
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