Musical America’s 2018 Instrumentalist of the Year Augustin Hadelich returns to Vail with Barber’s explosively brilliant concerto, and Brahms’s Haydn Variations are nothing less than inspired perfection.
THE PHILADELPHIA ORCHESTRA
KENSHO WATANABE, CONDUCTOR
AUGUSTIN HADELICH, VIOLIN
MOZART: “Prague” Symphony
BARBER: Violin Concerto
BRAHMS: Haydn Variations
MOZART: "PRAGUE" SYMPHONY
Symphony No. 38 in D major, K. 504, “Prague” (1786)
WOLFGANG AMADEUS MOZART (1756-1791)
"No work has ever created such a sensation as the Italian opera The Marriage of Figaro,” reported the Prague Oberpostamtszeitung on December 12, 1786. “Word of this triumph must have reached Mozart himself, for rumor has it that he will come here to see the performance.” The rumor proved to be correct — Mozart and his wife, Constanze, left Vienna on January 8, 1787, and arrived in the Bohemian capital three days later. As well as witnessing performances of Figaro in Prague, Mozart also hoped to present a concert of his instrumental music during his stay, so he organized a program on January 19th at the local opera house. He introduced a new D major Symphony he had brought with him from Vienna, played some concerto works, and offered a half hour of improvisation at the keyboard, but the audience demanded more, so he extemporized a dozen brilliant variations on Non più andrai from Figaro. When Mozart left Prague in mid-February, he took with him not only the unstinting praises of the city and a substantial cache of earnings, but also a contract for a new opera for Prague’s fall season — Don Giovanni.
The D major Symphony Mozart premiered at his Prague concert opens with an introduction whose turbulent moods presage the darker pages of Don Giovanni. Mozart was positively profligate with themes in the Allegro that comprises the main body of the movement. Musicologist Alfred Einstein counted “almost a dozen” motives welded into an expansive sonata form. The Andante is one of those pieces of Mozart’s maturity that exquisitely balance an ineffable serenity with a world of poignant emotions. The quicksilver finale was a particular delight at its premiere to Figaro-mad Prague, since Mozart borrowed its theme from the opera’s Act II duet of Susanna and Cherubino, Aprite presto.
BARBER: VIOLIN CONCERTO
Violin Concerto, Op. 14 (1939)
SAMUEL BARBER (1910-1981)
The Violin Concerto, with the warm lyricism of its first two movements and the aggressive rhythms and strong dissonances of its finale, is a microcosm of the stylistic evolution that Samuel Barber’s music underwent at the outbreak of World War II. The idiom of the works of his earlier years — Overture to “The School for Scandal” (1932), Essay for Orchestra (1937), Adagio for Strings (1938), those pieces that established his international reputation as a 20th-century romanticist — was soon to be augmented by the more modern but expressively richer musical language of the Second Symphony (1944), Capricorn Concerto (1944) and the ballet for Martha Graham, The Serpent Heart (1946), from which the orchestral suite Medea was derived. The Concerto’s opening movement, almost Brahmsian in its nostalgic songfulness, is built on two lyrical themes. The first one, presented immediately by the soloist, is an extended, arching melody; the other, initiated by the clarinet, is animated by a short–long rhythmic figure familiar from jazz. The two themes alternate throughout the remainder of the movement, which follows a broadly drawn, traditional concerto form. The expressive cantabile of the first movement carries into the lovely Adagio. The oboe intones a plangent melody as the main theme, from which the soloist spins a rhapsodic elaboration to serve as the movement’s central section. Moto perpetuo — “perpetual motion” — Barber marked the finale, and the music more than lives up to its title. After an opening timpani flourish, the soloist introduces a fiery motive that returns, rondo-like, throughout the movement.
BRAHMS: HAYDN VARIATIONS
Variations on a Theme of Joseph Haydn, Op. 56a (1873)
JOHANNES BRAHMS (1833-1897)
The seed for Brahms’ Haydn Variations was sown in November 1870 when Karl Ferdinand Pohl, librarian for Vienna’s Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde, ran across some unpublished manuscripts in his research for a biography of Haydn. Pohl assumed that these works, a set of six Feldpartiten (open-air suites for wind instruments), were by Haydn, and, knowing of Brahms’ interest in old music, he invited the composer to have a look at the scores. Brahms was especially interested in a movement of the Partita in B-flat that took as its theme a melody labeled “Choral St. Antoni.” The idea for a set of variations based on this sturdy tune apparently sprang to his mind immediately, and he copied the theme into his notes before he left Pohl’s study. Though Brahms did not know it, the melody he copied from Pohl’s manuscript was probably not by Haydn at all. It has been suggested that it was an old Austrian pilgrims’ song, though conclusive evidence has never been brought forth to support that theory. We may never know for sure.
To best appreciate the Haydn Variations, it is important to recognize the structure of its opening theme, with its irregular five-measure phrases and repeated sections. The eight variations that follow preserve the theme’s structure, though they vary greatly in mood: thoughtful, gentle, martial, even frankly sensual, this last being Brahms’ rarest musical emotion. The finale is constructed on a recurring five-measure motive derived from the bass supporting the theme. This fragment, repeated many times in the low strings before it migrates into the higher instruments, generates both an irresistible rhythmic motion and a spacious solidity as the finale progresses. It leads inexorably to the breathtaking moment when (after a minor-mode episode) the original theme bursts forth triumphantly in the strings as the woodwinds strew it with ribbons of scales.
Kensho Watanabe has served as Assistant Conductor of The Philadelphia Orchestra since the 2016-17 season and was the inaugural conducting fellow of the Curtis Institute of Music from 2013 to 2015, under the mentorship of Yannick Nézet-Séguin.
AUGUSTIN HADELICH, violin
Musical America’s “2018 Instrumentalist of the Year,” Augustin Hadelich has firmly established himself as one of the great violinists of today.
Kensho Watanabe has served as Assistant Conductor of The Philadelphia Orchestra since the 2016-17 season and was the inaugural conducting fellow of the Curtis Institute of Music from 2013 to 2015, under the mentorship of Yannick Nézet-Séguin. In April 2017, he came to worldwide attention by stepping in last minute for an indisposed Nézet-Séguin to make his critically acclaimed subscription debut with the Philadelphia Orchestra and pianist Daniil Trifonov.
Equally at home in both symphonic and operatic repertoire, Mr. Watanabe has led numerous operas with the Curtis Opera Theatre, most recently Puccini’s La Rondine in 2017 and La Bohème in 2015. Additionally he served as assistant conductor to Mr. Nézet-Séguin on a new production of Strauss’s Elektra at Montreal Opera.
Symphonic highlights include conducting the Philadelphia Orchestra with the violinist, Hilary Hahn, plus re-engagements with the Orchestre Métropolitain, the San Diego Symphony, and the Alabama Symphony Orchestra.
An accomplished violinist, Mr. Watanabe received his Master of Music degree from the Yale School of Music and served as a substitute violinist in The Philadelphia Orchestra from 2012 to 2016. Cognizant of the importance of the training and development of young musicians, he has served on the staff of the Greenwood Music Camp since 2007, currently serving as the Orchestra conductor.
Mr. Watanabe is a graduate of the Curtis Institute of Music, where he studied with distinguished conducting pedagogue Otto-Werner Mueller. Additionally he holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Yale College, where he studied molecular, cellular, and developmental biology.
AUGUSTIN HADELICH, violin
Musical America’s “2018 Instrumentalist of the Year,” Augustin Hadelich has firmly established himself as one of the great violinists of today. He has performed with every major orchestra in the U.S., many on numerous occasions, as well as an ever-growing number of major orchestras in the UK, Europe, and the Far East.
One of the highlights of Mr. Hadelich’s 2017/2018 season will be a return to the Boston Symphony, performing the Ligeti Concerto with Thomas Adès on the podium, and featuring the U.S. premiere of Adès’s new cadenza for the concerto. Additional highlights include performances with the San Francisco Symphony and the symphony orchestras of Atlanta, Detroit, Houston, Indianapolis, Milwaukee, Nashville, Oregon, Pittsburgh, Seattle, St. Louis, and Utah. Abroad, Mr. Hadelich will play with the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra, Polish National Radio
Orchestra, the Lahti Symphony, Royal Scottish National Orchestra, The Hallé Orchestra, and the Orquesta Sinfónica de Castilla y León.
Recent summer appearances include his 2017 solo debut at the Grand Teton Music Festival, his 2016 debut at the BBC Proms, return engagements with the Boston Symphony at Tanglewood and the Cleveland Orchestra at Blossom, in addition to appearances at the music festivals in Aspen, Bravo! Vail, Britt, Chautauqua, Eastern, Marlboro, Sun Valley, and the Hollywood Bowl.
Among recent and upcoming worldwide performances are the BBC Philharmonic/Manchester, BBC Symphony/London, Bournemouth Symphony, Concertgebouw Orchestra/Amsterdam, Danish National Symphony, Finnish Radio Orchestra, Hamburg Philharmonic, Hong Kong Philharmonic, London Philharmonic, Mozarteum Orchestra/Salzburg, Netherlands Philharmonic, Norwegian Radio Orchestra, NHK Symphony/Tokyo, São Paulo Symphony, and the radio orchestras of Cologne, Frankfurt, Saarbrücken, and Stuttgart.
Augustin Hadelich’s career took off when he was named Gold Medalist of the 2006 International Violin Competition of Indianapolis. Since then, he has garnered an impressive list of honors, including the inaugural Warner Music Prize in 2015, and a 2016 Grammy Award for his recording of Dutilleux’s Violin Concerto, L’arbre des songes, with the Seattle Symphony under Ludovic Morlot (Seattle Symphony MEDIA).
Mr. Hadelich plays the 1723 “Ex-Kiesewetter” Stradivari violin, on loan from Clement and Karen Arrison through the Stradivari Society of Chicago.
Photo: Rosalie O'Connor
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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 credit cards, cash, and checks. There is a $2 fee per ticket. Tickets are delivered by mail or email,or may be picked up at the Box Office.
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?
Tickets are non-refundable. You may exchange your tickets ($7 fee per ticket) by calling the Box Office at 877.812.5700 up to 2 days before the concert. You may release your tickets or leave them for a friend at Will Call by calling the Box Office.
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?
Low-profile lawn chairs are available at the GRFA to rent for $10. You may also rent a lawn chair with your lawn ticket purchase online or by calling the Bravo! Vail Box Office at 877.812.5700. To reserve a lawn chair in advance, please email email@example.com
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).