The acclaimed Academy of St Martin in the Fields Chamber Ensemble, drawn from the principal players of one of the world’s greatest chamber orchestras, collaborates with Bravo! Vail’s Artistic Director Anne-Marie McDermott for an incredible evening of audience favorites including Richard Strauss’s lovely introduction to his final operatic work, the Sextet that introduced Dvořák to audiences beyond his native Bohemia, and a monumental, exuberantly virtuosic Schumann quintet.
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STRAUSS: Sextet for Strings from Capriccio
DVOŘÁK: Sextet for Strings in A major, Op. 48
SCHUMANN: Piano Quintet in E-flat major, Op. 44
STRAUSS: SEXTET FOR STRINGS FROM CAPRICCIO
Introduction (Sextet) to Capriccio, Op. 85 (1939-1941)
RICHARD STRAUSS (1864-1949)
In his New Encyclopedia of the Opera, David Ewen offered the following précis of Capriccio, Strauss’ last opera: “The almost actionless libretto [set in a chateau in late- 18th-century France] is little more than a discussion as to which is more significant in opera, the words or the music. Flamand, the musician, becomes the spokesman for the music; Olivier, the poet, for the words. Both are emotionally involved with the Countess Madeleine. When LaRoche, a producer, plans a series of entertainments to celebrate the Countess’ birthday, she suggests that Flamand and Olivier collaborate, using for their material the day’s happenings and themselves as principal characters. When they leave to write their ‘entertainment,’ the Countess (looking in a mirror) asks herself which man she prefers. She comes to the conclusion that both interest her equally. Her conclusion is Strauss’ answer to the problem that opened the opera: in opera, the words and music have equal importance.” In Capriccio, the Sextet begins before the stage is revealed. As it continues, the curtain rises to show the characters listening to the music played by an off-stage ensemble as the musician Flamand’s birthday offering to the Countess.
DVOŘÁK: SEXTET FOR STRINGS IN A MAJOR, OP. 48
Sextet for Two Violins, Two Violas and Two Cellos in A major, Op. 48 (1878)
ANTONÍN DVOŘÁK (1841 - 1904)
Dvořák’s String Sextet was composed in only two weeks during May 1878, and first given on July 29, 1879 at a private soirée in the Berlin home of the master violinist and staunch ally of Brahms, Joseph Joachim. The event marked the first time that a chamber work of his had received its premiere outside Bohemia, an important marker along the road of the composer’s burgeoning international renown. Joachim introduced the Sextet to the public on November 9, 1879 in Vienna, and played it twice the following spring in London, where it excited an enthusiasm for Dvořák and his music that remained undimmed for the rest of his life. The sonata-form opening movement uses as its main theme a melody of rapturous beauty given as a sweet duet between first violin and first cello. The subsidiary subject is a short-breathed motive of small leaps and skipping rhythms initiated by the violin. The skipping rhythms are given special prominence in the development section. A complete recapitulation and a long coda allow for the full appreciation of the movement’s splendid thematic components. The middle two movements—a Dumka and a Furiant—so strongly impress their folk idioms upon the Sextet that British critic Alec Robertson wrote, “The work has the effect of a brightly colored travel poster advertising Dvořák’s homeland.” The Dumka was a traditional Slavic (especially Ukrainian) folk ballad of meditative character often describing heroic deeds. Dvořák wrote additional specimens such as the Dumka: Elegy (Op. 35, 1876), Furiant with Dumka (Op. 12, 1884), second movement of the Piano Quintet in A major (Op. 81, 1887), and “Dumky” Trio (Op. 90, 1891). The Furiant is a Czech dance whose fiery character is indicated by its name. The Sextet’s finale is a set of five variations on the theme given at the outset by the viola to which is appended a whirlwind coda.
SCHUMANN: PIANO QUINTET IN E-FLAT MAJOR, OP. 44
Quintet for Piano, Two Violins, Viola and Cello in E-flat major, Op. 44 (1842)
ROBERT SCHUMANN (1810 - 1856)
Schumann sketched the Quintet for Piano, Two Violins, Viola and Cello in just five days during September 1842 and completed the score only two weeks later during the five month frenzy of creativity that also yielded up the Piano Quartet, the three String Quartets and the Phantasiestücke for Piano, Violin and Cello. The Piano Quintet opens with a striding, heroic theme played by the full ensemble. A gentler motive is posited by the piano and the violin as a transition to the second theme, a lovely scalar melody initiated by the cello. A recall of the vigorous opening theme closes the exposition. The development section, led by the piano (as is most of the work—the keyboard has only six measures of rest in the entire composition), deals mostly with permutations of the main theme. The recapitulation provides balance and closure by recalling the earlier thematic material in appropriately adjusted tonalities. The second movement is in the mode and manner of a solemn funeral march into which are inserted two contrasting episodes. The first intervening paragraph is a lyrical effusion for the violin and cello in duet supported by a restless accompaniment from the inner strings and the keyboard. The second episode is a tempestuous passage of angry triplet rhythms that are not soothed until the lyrical melody from the earlier episode returns in a heightened setting. The funeral march, nearly exhausted, is heard one final time to bring the movement to a dying close. The Scherzo, called by one commentator “the glorification of the scale,” is strewn with long ribbons of ascending and descending notes. Two trios, one sweet and flowing, the other impetuous and Gypsy-inspired, provide contrast. The finale, one of Schumann’s most masterful formal accomplishments, begins in the shadow of defiant tragedy but, before its end, achieves a soaring, life-affirming proclamation through an expertly constructed double fugue based on the conjoined main themes of the finale and the opening movement.
The Academy of St Martin in the Fields Chamber Ensemble
“An ensemble of first-rate musicians, technically superb, generously expressive, and obviously enjoying themselves.” - Dallas Morning News
ANNE-MARIE MCDERMOTT, piano
Pianist and Bravo! Vail Artistic Director Anne-Marie McDermott is a consummate artist who balances a versatile career as a soloist and collaborator. She performs over 100 concerts a year in a combination of solo recitals, concerti, and chamber music.
The Academy of St Martin in the Fields Chamber Ensemble
The Academy Chamber Ensemble was formed in 1967, drawing its membership from the world-renowned chamber orchestra the Academy of St Martin in the Fields, which was itself founded by Sir Neville Marriner in 1958 and is currently led by Music Director Joshua Bell. The purpose behind the formation of the Chamber Ensemble was to perform the larger scale chamber music repertoire with players who customarily worked together, instead of the usual string quartet with additional guests. Drawn from the principal players of the orchestra and play-directed by Academy Director / Leader Tomo Keller, the Chamber Ensemble now performs in multiple configurations from wind trios to string octets. Its touring commitments are extensive and include regular tours of Europe and North America, whilst recording contracts with Philips Classics, Hyperion, and Chandos have led to the release of over thirty CDs.
ANNE-MARIE MCDERMOTT, piano
Pianist Anne-Marie McDermott is a consummate artist who balances a versatile career as a soloist and collaborator. She performs over 100 concerts a year in a combination of solo recitals, concerti and chamber music. Her repertoire choices are eclectic, spanning from Bach and Haydn to Prokofiev and Scriabin to Kernis, Hartke, Tower and Wuorinen.
With over 50 concerti in her repertoire, Ms. McDermott has performed with many leading orchestras including the New York Philharmonic, Minnesota Orchestra, Dallas Symphony, Columbus Symphony, Seattle Symphony, National Symphony, Houston Symphony, Colorado Symphony, Pittsburgh Symphony, St. Louis Symphony, Atlanta Symphony, Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, Moscow Virtuosi, Hong Kong Philharmonic, San Diego Symphony, New Jersey Symphony and Baltimore Symphony among others. Ms. McDermott has toured with the Australian Chamber Orchestra and the Moscow Virtuosi.
In the recent seasons, Ms. McDermott performed with the Philadelphia Orchestra, Buffalo Philharmonic, North Carolina Symphony, Charlotte Symphony, Huntsville Symphony, Alabama Symphony, San Diego Symphony, the Oregon Mozart Players, and the New Century Chamber Orchestra.
Recital engagements have included the 92nd Street Y, Alice Tully Hall, Town Hall, The Schubert Club, Kennedy Center, as well as universities across the country. Anne-Marie McDermott has curated and performed in a number of intense projects including: the Complete Prokofiev Piano Sonatas and Chamber Music, a Three Concert Series of Shostakovich Chamber Music, as well as a recital series of Haydn and Beethoven Piano Sonatas. Most recently, she commissioned works of Charles Wuorinen and Clarice Assad which were premiered in May 2009 at Town Hall, in conjunction with Bach’s Goldberg Variations.
As a soloist, Ms. McDermott has recorded the complete Prokofiev Piano Sonatas, Bach English Suites and Partitas (which was named Gramophone Magazine’s Editor’s Choice), and most recently, Gershwin Complete Works for Piano and Orchestra with the Dallas Symphony and Justin Brown.
In addition to her many achievements and association with Bravo! Vail, McDermott is also Artistic Director of two other festivals; The Ocean Reef Chamber Music Festival in the Florida Keys and The Avila Chamber Music Celebration in Curaçao, off the coast of Venezuela.
As a chamber music performer, Anne-Marie McDermott was named an artist member of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center in 1995 and performs and tours extensively with them each season. She also continues a long standing collaboration with the highly acclaimed violinist, Nadja Salerno Sonnenberg. As a duo, they have released a CD titled “Live” on the NSS label and plan to release the Complete Brahms Violin and Piano Sonatas in the future. Ms. McDermott is also a member of the renowned piano quartet, Opus One, with colleagues Ida Kavafian, Steven Tenenbom and Peter Wiley.
She continues to perform each season with her sisters, Maureen McDermott and Kerry McDermott in the McDermott Trio. Ms. McDermott has also released an all Schumann CD with violist, Paul Neubauer, as well as the Complete Chamber Music of Debussy with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center.
Ms. McDermott studied at the Manhattan School of Music with Dalmo Carra, Constance Keene and John Browning. She was a winner of the Young Concert Artists auditions and was awarded an Avery Fisher Career Grant.
In addition to her duties at Bravo! Vail, Anne-Marie McDermott regularly performs at Festivals across the United States including Spoleto, Mainly Mozart, Sante Fe, La Jolla Summerfest, Mostly Mozart, Newport, Caramoor, Chamber Music Northwest, Aspen, Music from Angelfire, and the Festival Casals in Puerto Rico, among others.
Photo: Zach Mahone
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Where are the performances held?
Bravo! Vail Chamber Music Series concerts at held at Donovan Pavilion, located on the South Frontage Road near West Vail: 1600 S Frontage Rd W, Vail, CO 81657
What time do performances begin?
Concerts start punctually at 6pm. Doors open 30 minutes prior. Late seating will be at the completion of the first movement or after the first piece, as directed by the Bravo! Vail Guild volunteers.
How long do concerts last?
Concerts generally last 90 minutes to 2 hours with a scheduled intermission.
How do I buy tickets?
Tickets 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 and Sunday from 10am to 4pm. The Bravo! Vail Box Office can be reached at 877.812.5700.
Tickets are also sold at the Donovan Pavilion on concert days, one hour prior to concert.
Where is the Will Call window?
Will Call tickets may be picked up one hour prior to the concert at the Box Office table located to the right of the entrance of Donovan Pavilion.
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 by 3pm prior to the concert to release the tickets for resale. 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 food and beverages are available at the concert?
Food and beverages including beer and wine are available for purchase on the back patio prior to concert and at intermission.
What is the seating plan?
Seating for Chamber Music Series concerts is general admission seating and is ADA (American Disability Act) accessible.
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.
What if I misplace or forget to bring my tickets?
The Box Office can reprint your tickets if needed.
What if I lose something at the concert?
Call the Bravo! Vail Box Office 970.827.5700 or the Donovan Pavilion 970.477.3699.
What are some general rules of Chamber Series concert etiquette?
Please arrive before the concert begins to allow time for parking and seating. Please limit conversation so others may enjoy the music. Please turn off phones. Parental supervision is required for all children attending Bravo! Vail concerts.
What is the Donovan Pavilion Child Policy?
The Chamber Series concert experience is very intimate. There are no places at the Donovan Pavilion with no areas for children to relocate to and take a break. While there is really no “right” age for bringing your child to a chamber concert, Bravo! Vail strongly recommends audiences are six or older, and caution that a chamber music concert might not be the best introductory experience to classical music for a child.that children are ready for a serious classical music concert. However, you know your child best and can judge their readiness for experiencing a chamber music concert at Bravo! Vail. However, you knokw your child best and can judge if they will be able to sit quietly throughout the performance.
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.