Music Director Yannick Nézet-Séguin showcases the famously lush “Philadelphia Sound” with Brahms’s Chorale Preludes, and a pair of Bach organ works in ingenious arrangements by the legendary Leopold Stokowski. Brahms's glorious Symphony No. 2, with its pastoral themes and joyful intensity, closes the evening on a festive, celebratory note.
THE PHILADELPHIA ORCHESTRA
YANNICK NÉZET-SÉGUIN, CONDUCTOR
BRAHMS/GLANERT: Transcriptions of Chorale Preludes
BACH/STOKOWSKI: Passacaglia and Fugue in C minor
BACH/STOKOWSKI: Toccata and Fugue in D minor
BRAHMS: Symphony No. 2
Selections from Eleven Chorale Preludes, Op. 122
JOHANNES BRAHMS (1833-1897)
ARRANGED BY DETLEV GLANERT (B. 1960)
Early in his life, as a counterpoint student in 1858, Brahms wrote three fugues and a Chorale Prelude and Fugue on the old German hymn O Traurigkeit, O Herzeleid (“O Sorrow, O Heartache”) for organ, but then composed no more music for the organ until the last months of his life. The death of Clara Schumann on May 20, 1896, the dearest person in his life, took a heavy toll on Brahms, already seriously ill with liver cancer, and his friends fretted over his declining health. Perhaps as a memorial to Clara, he created a series of Chorale Preludes for organ on several well-known German hymns, and it proved to be the last music he wrote. The eleven Chorale Preludes, based on melodies borrowed from the Lutheran tradition, are among the few examples of that genre by a major 19th-century composer. Jesu mein, der du mich zum Lustspiel ewiglich (“My Jesus, who delights me forever”) is based on an anonymous late-17th century melody that Brahms borrowed from a hymnal he had used early in his life. The melody for Herzlich tut mich verlangen (“My heart is ever yearning”) was written in 1601 by Hans Leo Hassler, and the words by Christian Knoll twelve years later. The theme is also familiar with the text O Haupt voll Blut und Wunden (“O head crowned with blood and wounds”) as the so-called “Passion Chorale” from Bach’s St. Matthew Passion. The Prelude based on Heinrich Isaac’s 1495 O Welt, ich muss dich lassen (“O world, I now must leave thee”) was, appropriately, Brahms’ last addition to his artistic legacy.
Passacaglia and Fugue in C minor, BWV 582 (ca. 1710)
JOHANN SEBASTIAN BACH (1685-1750)
ARRANGED BY LEOPOLD STOKOWSKI (1882-1977)
Bach was appointed to his first important position in 1708 as organist and chamber musician to Duke Wilhelm Ernst of Weimar, an enlightened ruler who not only professed his Lutheran religion but also lived it, promoting the education and well-being of his subjects, and engaging in frequent philanthropy. Sometime before leaving his Weimar post in 1717, Bach wrote his only Passacaglia and Fugue, the former genre based on a short, recurring melodic pattern derived from a popular dance form that originated in the city barrios of Spain in the late 16th century.
BACH/STOKOWSKI: TOCCATA AND FUGUE IN D MINOR
Toccata and Fugue in D minor, BWV 565 (ca. 1708)
JOHANN SEBASTIAN BACH (1685-1750)
ARRANGED BY LEOPOLD STOKOWSKI (1882-1977)
The magnificent Toccata and Fugue in D minor, written soon after Bach’s appointment at Weimar, juxtaposes two of Baroque music’s least-related forms. The genre of the toccata was essentially a written-down improvisation whose history traces back to Italy almost two centuries before Bach. The fugue, on the other hand, is music’s most tightly integrated structure, growing from a single theme that threads through each of the voices and dominates the seamless piece from beginning to end.
BRAHMS: SYMPHONY NO. 2
Symphony No. 2 in D major, Op. 73 (1877)
JOHANNES BRAHMS (1833-1897)
In the summer of 1877, Brahms repaired to the village of Pörtschach in the Carinthian hills of southern Austria. He wrote to a Viennese friend, “Pörtschach is an exquisite spot, and I have found a lovely and apparently pleasant abode in the Castle! The place is replete with Austrian coziness and kindheartedness.” The lovely country surroundings inspired Brahms’ creativity to such a degree that he wrote to the critic Eduard Hanslick, “So many melodies fly about, one must be careful not to tread on them.” Brahms plucked from the gentle Pörtschach breezes a surfeit of beautiful music for his Second Symphony, which was written quickly during that summer.
The Symphony opens with a three-note motive, presented softly by the low strings, which is the germ seed from which much of the movement grows. The horns sing the principal subject, which includes the three-note motive; the sweet second theme is given by cellos and violas. The development begins with the horn’s main theme, but is mostly concerned with the three-note motive. The placid mood of the opening returns with the recapitulation.
The Adagio plumbs the deepest emotions in the Symphony. The movement covers a wide range of sentiments, shifting, as it does, between light and shade— major and minor. Its form is sonata-allegro, whose second theme is a gently syncopated strain intoned by the woodwinds above the cellos’ pizzicato notes. The Allegretto is a delightful musical sleight-ofhand. The oboe presents a naive, folk-like tune in moderate triple meter as the movement’s principal theme. The strings take over the melody in the first Trio, but play it in an energetic duple-meter transformation. The return of the sedate original theme is interrupted by another quick-tempo variation, this one a further development of motives from Trio I. A final traversal of the main theme closes this delectable movement.
The finale bubbles with rhythmic energy and high spirits. The main theme starts with a unison gesture in the strings, but soon becomes harmonically active and spreads through the orchestra; the second theme is a broad, hymnal melody. The development begins with a statement of the main theme in the tonic before branching into discussion of the movement’s motives. The recapitulation recalls the earlier themes, and leads through the triumphant coda to the brazen glow of the final trombone chord.
YANNICK NÉZET-SÉGUIN, conductor
Yannick Nézet-Séguin is the music director for The Philadelphia Orchestra.
YANNICK NÉZET-SÉGUIN, conductor
In 2012, Montreal-born Yannick Nézet-Séguin added the Music Directorship of The Philadelphia Orchestra to his roles as Music Director of the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra and long-time Artistic Director and Principal Conductor of the Orchestre Métropolitain (Montreal), where he has served since 2000.
2017/18 will be his tenth and final season with the Rotterdam Philharmonic and will draw to a close with the orchestra’s centenary celebrations in Rotterdam and round Europe. In 2020/2021 he succeeds James Levine as the third Music Director of the Metropolitan Opera, New York and remains in post with The Philadelphia Orchestra until at least summer 2026.
Mr. Nézet-Séguin has worked with many leading European ensembles and enjoys close collaborations with the Berlin Philharmoniker, Wiener Philharmoniker, Bayerischer Rundfunk Sinfonieorchester and Chamber Orchestra of Europe; between 2008 and 2014 he was also Principal Guest Conductor of London Philharmonic Orchestra. He has appeared three times at the BBC Proms and at many European festivals, among them Edinburgh, Lucerne, Salzburg and Grafenegg. North American summer appearances include New York’s Mostly Mozart Festival, Lanaudiere, Vail and Saratoga.
He made his Salzburg Festival opera debut in 2008 with a new production of Roméo et Juliette, returning in 2010 and 2011 for Don Giovanni. In the 2009/10 season, he made his Metropolitan Opera debut with their new production of Carmen and has returned each season (Otello, Don Carlo, Faust, La Traviata and Rusalka). Next season, he conducts Wagner there for the first time (Der Fliegende Holländer).
He has conducted for Teatro alla Scala (Milano), Royal Opera House (Covent Garden, London), Netherlands Opera (Amsterdam) and Wiener Staatsoper (Vienna). In 2011 began a cycle of seven Mozart operas for Festspielhaus Baden-Baden, all recorded live by Deutsche Grammophon. Le Nozze di Figaro, the fourth of the titles, is scheduled for release later this year.
In addition to Le Nozze di Figaro, recent Deutsche Grammophon releases include the Complete Schumann symphonies and Enführung aus dem Serail with the Chamber Orchestra of Europe; The Rite of Spring and Rachmaninov Variations with Daniil Trifonov and The Philadelphia Orchestra; and Tchaikovsky with the Rotterdam Philharmonic and Lisa Batiashvili. Nézet-Séguin’s discography also includes recordings with the Rotterdam Philharmonic (EMI Classics, BIS and DG); London Philharmonic (LPO label); Bayerischer Rundfunk Sinfonieorchester (BR Klassik) and Orchestre Métropolitain (ATMA Classique).
Mr. Nézet-Séguin studied piano, conducting, composition, and chamber music at the Conservatoire de musique du Québec in Montreal, and choral conducting at the Westminster Choir College in Princeton, New Jersey before going on to study with renowned conductors, most notably the Italian maestro Carlo Maria Giulini. His honours include Musical America’s Artist of the Year (2016), Royal Philharmonic Society Award; Canada’s National Arts Centre Award, the Prix Denise-Pelletier awarded by the Quebec government, and the Medal of Honour from the National Assembly of Quebec (2015). He holds honorary doctorates from the University of Quebec in Montreal (2011), Curtis Institute in Philadelphia (2014) and Westminster Choir College of Rider University (2015). He has received the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres du Québec (2015). He was appointed a Companion of the Order of Canada (2012) and Officer of the Order of Québec (2015).
Photo: Chris Lee
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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).