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 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 generally start promptly at 6pm (except for movie screenings which start at 7:30 or 8pm). The GRFA lobby opens 90 minutes prior to performances and gates open 60 minutes prior to performances. Please be sure to give yourself plenty of time to park and get into the venue; latecomers will be admitted at an appropriate interval, escorted by volunteers from the Bravo! Vail Guild.
How long do concerts last?
Concerts generally last under two hours. Please check performance pages beginning in April for specific running times.
How do I buy tickets?
Tickets, subscriptions, passes,and gift certificates may be ordered in the following ways:
• Phone 877.812.5700 or Fax 970.827.5707
• Mail or in-person Bravo! Vail 2271 N Frontage Rd W Suite C, Vail, CO 81657
• Email firstname.lastname@example.org
Ticket delivery methods are Mail, Print at Home, and Will Call. Bravo! Vail accepts all major credit cards (Amex, Visa, MasterCard and Discover), cash, and checks with proper identification. There is a $2 order fee per ticket.
What are the Box Office hours?
Bravo! Vail Box Office hours are Monday through 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) beginning mid-June. Tickets for upcoming performances may be purchased on-site during concert intermissions.
Where is the Will Call window?
Will Call tickets may be picked up at the Box Office located to the right of the main entrance lobby. The Box Office is open 11am to concert start time beginning mid-June. Will Call tickets may also be picked up during concert intermissions.
Does Bravo! Vail offer group pricing?
Group sales discounts of up to 15% for groups of 15 or more are available to select concerts. Please call 970.827.4316 for more information, or view the Group Sales page.
What if I buy tickets and cannot attend?
All sales are final. If you are unable to attend your concert, please call the Box Office at 877.812.5700 at least two hours prior to the concert to donate the tickets for resale or drop them off at the venue so seats can be filled by another music lover. You will receive a ticket release receipt in the mail. If you wish to give tickets to a friend, you may call the Box Office to leave them in your friend's name at Will Call.
What if I misplace or forget to bring my tickets?
The Box Office can reprint your tickets if needed.
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 Premium Aisle, Premium, Reserved, and Saver sections which reflect all reserved seating zones and prices.
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 in order to sit in this area.
By purchasing an ADA seat, you are stating that you require an ADA seat and if purchased fraudulently, you may be subject to relocation.
If you need further assistance purchasing ADA seating, please call the Box Office at 877.812.5700.
What should I bring to the concert?
If you have lawn seating at Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater, you should plan to bring a blanket to sit on, sunglasses, and a hat or visor. Lawn chairs with legs under 4 inches tall are allowed. Vail weather can be unpredictable so rain gear and a jacket are recommended. Concessions are available at Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater, but you are welcome to bring food and non-alcoholic sealed drinks. Per Colorado State Law, you may not bring outside alcoholic beverages into any Bravo! Vail venue. For your safety and the safety of all of our guests, backpacks, bags, purses, picnic baskets, and coolers will be checked upon entry to Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater. The following articles are not allowed:
• Alcoholic beverages (picnics and commercially sealed non-alcoholic beverages are permitted, and concessions with food and alcohol sales are available at the venue)
• Bikes, inline skates, scooters, and skateboards
• Cameras and recording devices
• Lawn chairs with legs higher than 4 inches (lawn chair rentals are $10)
What food and beverages are available for purchase at GRFA?
Popcorn, candy, burgers, sandwiches, and salads are available for purchase at concessions inside GRFA. A full bar is also available to purchase beer, wine, and alcohol. All major credit cards and cash are accepted for payment. In the pavilion seating, we recommend eating prior to the concert or at intermission.
Food and commercially sealed non-alcoholic beverages may be brought into the GRFA.
What if it rains?
Concerts take place rain or shine. 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 — wear what makes you most comfortable! You can dress formally, or opt for jeans and a t-shirt, or anything in between. Just one word of advice: while the summers in Colorado are perfect, the evenings often bring rain showers and cooler temps. We recommend being prepared for both.
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 are some general rules of concert etiquette?
Above all, we want you to have a beautiful, musically rich concert experience. We ask that all concertgoers help to ensure a mutually enjoyable evening by silencing all devices such as cell phones and watch alarms. Please take time to turn these off prior to performances, so they don’t disrupt musicians and other patrons. Likewise, please limit conversations and other noisy activities during the music, so everyone can enjoy the concert undisturbed. In the pavilion seating, we recommend eating prior to the concert or at intermission.
What else should I know?
Vail is at high elevation so don’t forget to hydrate and use sun protection. Visitors from lower elevations may experience altitude sickness when traveling to and visiting Vail. Be sure to drink water to allow your body to acclimate to the change in oxygen levels.
What if I still have questions?
Please don’t hesitate to contact the Box Office at 877.812.5700 Monday–Friday 9am–4pm MST with any questions you have.