One of “America’s most satisfying—and most enterprising—quartets” (Los Angeles Times) lifts a glass to Beethoven. This program features a luminous piece by Hillborg, inspired by Beethoven’s last piano sonata, followed by the sonata itself, and closing with a breathtaking romp through Beethoven’s last “Razumovsky” quartet.
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CALDER QUARTET (STRINGS), ANNE-MARIE MCDERMOTT (PIANO)
HILLBORG: Kongsgaard Variations (For String Quartet)
BEETHOVEN: Piano Sonata No. 32 in C minor, Op. 111
BEETHOVEN: String Quartet No. 9 in C major, Op. 59, No. 3 “Razumovsky”
Kongsgaard Variations for String Quartet (2006)
ANDERS HILLBORG (B. 1954)
Swedish composer Anders Hillborg gained his first musical experience as a chorister, started improvising as a teenager, and went on to study counterpoint, composition and electronic music at Stockholm’s Royal College of Music. Except for a short time teaching composition at the Malmö College of Music in 1990 and occasional master classes and courses, Hillborg has since lived in Stockholm as a free-lance composer. He won the Swedish Gramophone Award in 1991 as Composer of the Year and has also received a UNESCO Composers Rostrum Award, Christ Johnson Music Prize, and 2012 Swedish Gramophone Award for Best Classical CD of the Year.
Kongsgaard Variations was composed in 2006 and dedicated to John and Maggy Kongsgaard, winemakers and co-founders of the Arietta winery in Napa Valley. Hillborg wrote of the work, “The label on a bottle of Arietta wine displays a couple of bars from the Arietta theme from Beethoven’s last piano sonata [Op. 111] in his own handwriting. So when I was asked to compose a piece in honor of this fabulous wine, that theme would naturally have a key role. But whereas Beethoven’s piece is a set of rigorously carried out variations with a steadily increasing intensity curve, the Kongsgaard Variations are more like meditations, with no directional process. The music floats aimlessly through the centuries, displaying reminiscences of Baroque, folk-music, Renaissance and Romanticism, but with Beethoven’s Arietta theme as the musical epicenter.”
Piano Sonata No. 32 in C minor, Op. 111 (1821-1822)
LUDWIG VAN BEETHOVEN (1770-1827)
Beethoven’s painful five-year court battle to secure custody of his nephew Karl from his brother Caspar’s dissolute widow (whom the composer disparaged as the “Queen of the Night”) finally came to an end early in 1820. He won the case, but lost the boy’s affection (Karl, half crazed from his uncle’s overbearing attention, tried, unsuccessfully, to kill himself). The trial also exploded the composer’s own pretension that he was of noble blood. With the resolution of his custody suit, Beethoven returned to creative work, and began anew the titanic struggle to embody his transcendent thoughts in musical tones. In no apparent hurry to dispel the rumors in gossipy Vienna that he was “written out,” he produced just one composition in 1820, the Piano Sonata in E major, Op. 109, but followed that quickly with the A-flat Sonata, Op. 110, dated on Christmas Day, 1821, and the Sonata in C minor, Op. 111, finished just three weeks later, on January 13, 1822. The C minor Sonata was his last such work, followed in his output for piano only by the Diabelli Variations and the two late sets of Bagatelles (Op. 119 and Op. 126).
For the C minor Sonata Beethoven chose the unusual structure of two vast movements—a tempestuous essay in sonata form followed by a lofty set of variations of ethereal character— which are contrasted at almost every level: tonality (C minor, C major); rhythm (fiery, placid); melody (craggy and filled with dramatic leaps, hymnal and smoothly flowing); harmony (chromatic and bold, pure and introspective); texture (contrapuntal, chordal). This music is not only the product of the obsession of his last years with motivic development, fugue, variation and the very essence of musical form, but also embodies the potent emotional-philosophical progression of darkness-to-light, struggle-to-transcendence, minor-to-major that makes the Fifth and Ninth Symphonies such powerful utterances.
String Quartet No. 9 in C major, Op. 59, No. 3, “Razumovsky” (1806)
LUDWIG VAN BEETHOVEN (1770-1827)
Count Andreas Kyrillovitch Razumovsky was one of the most prominent figures in Viennese society, politics and art at the turn of the 19th century. Born in 1752 to a singer at the Russian court, he ingratiated himself with a number of women of lofty station and entered the diplomatic corps at the age of 25. In 1788 in Vienna, Razumovsky married Elizabeth, Countess of Thun and sister of Prince Lichnowsky, one of Beethoven’s most devoted patrons. Four years later, he was assigned as Russian ambassador to Vienna, whose sybaritic life style perfectly suited his personality. Razumovsky was also an accomplished violinist who indulged his interest in music by taking lessons from Haydn, playing in chamber concerts, and sponsoring the performance of works in his residence. In the spring of 1806, he took over from Prince Lichnowsky the patronage of the string quartet headed by Ignaz Schuppanzigh, and commissioned Beethoven to write three new pieces that would be played in the grand palace he was building on the Danube Canal near the Prater. In honor of (or, perhaps, at the request of) his Russian patron, Beethoven included traditional Russian themes in the first two quartets of the Op. 59 set.
The Razumovsky Quartet No. 3, in C major, opens with an almost motionless introduction, influenced, perhaps, in its harmonic acerbity by the beginning of Mozart’s “Dissonant” Quartet. The mood brightens with the presentation of the main theme by the unaccompanied first violin, and there ensues a powerful movement in fully developed sonata form. Dark currents of feeling pulse beneath the rippling surface of the Andante: “A lament [that] searches many shadowy corners,” wrote Vincent d’Indy of this music; J.W.N. Sullivan thought that it presents “some forgotten and alien despair;” a “mystery of the primitive” concluded Joseph Kerman of it. The third movement, nominally a Minuet, is of a Romantic sensibility that leaves the elegance and simple grace of its model far behind. The finale is a whirlwind blend of rondo, sonata and fugue.
CALDER QUARTET, strings
Winners of the prestigious 2014 Avery Fisher Career Grant, the Calder Quartet is widely known for the discovery, commissioning, recording and mentoring of some of today’s best emerging composers (over 25 commissioned works to date).
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.
CALDER QUARTET, strings
The Calder Quartet performs a broad range of repertoire at an exceptional level, always striving to channel and fulfill the composer’s vision. Already the choice of many leading composers to perform their works, the group’s distinctive approach is exemplified by a musical curiosity brought to everything they perform.
Winners of the prestigious 2014 Avery Fisher Career Grant, they are widely known for the discovery, commissioning, recording and mentoring of some of today’s best emerging composers (over 25 commissioned works to date). The group continues to work and collaborate with artists across musical genres, spanning the ranges of the classical and contemporary music world, as well as rock and film/tv soundtracks, and in venues ranging from museums to Carnegie and the Hollywood Bowl.
Inspired by innovative American artist Alexander Calder, the Calder Quartet’s desire to bring immediacy and context to the works they perform creates an artfully crafted musical experience. Recent and upcoming highlights include Lincoln Center, Metropolitan Museum of Art, multiple performances at Wigmore Hall, Barbican, Salzburg Festival, Donaueschingen Festival, Frankfurt Alte Oper, Tonhalle Zurich, IRCAM Paris, Hamburg’s Elbphilharmonie, Centro Nacional de Difusión Musical Madrid, a residency at the Perth International Arts Festival and returns to Los Angeles’ Disney Hall and the Ojai Music Festival on a program curated by Peter Sellars. Their long list of collaborators include the Cleveland Orchestra, LA Philharmonic, Thomas Adès, Peter Eötvös, Barbara Hannigan, Audrey Luna, Johannes Moser, Joshua Bell, Edgar Meyer and Danielle DeNiese.
The quartet has been featured in extremely popular TV shows such as the Late Show with David Letterman, the Tonight Show with Jay Leno, KCRW’s Morning Becomes Eclectic, the Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien, Late Night with Jimmy Kimmel, and the Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson. In 2011 the Calder Quartet launched a non-profit dedicated to furthering its efforts in commissioning, presenting, recording, and education, collaborating with the Getty Museum, Segerstrom Center for the Arts, and the Barbican Centre in London.
The Calder Quartet formed at the University of Southern California’s Thornton School of Music and continued studies at the Colburn Conservatory of Music with Ronald Leonard, and at the Juilliard School, receiving the Artist Diploma in Chamber Music Studies as the Juilliard Graduate Resident String Quartet. The quartet regularly conducts master classes and has taught at the Colburn School, the Juilliard School, Cleveland Institute of Music, University of Cincinnati College Conservatory and USC Thornton School of Music. The Calder Quartet is represented exclusively worldwide by Intermusica.
Photo: Autumn de Wilde
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 Classically Uncorked performances held?
Bravo! Vail Classically Uncorked concerts at held at Donovan Pavilion, located at 1600 S Frontage Rd W, Vail, CO 81657
What time do performances begin?
Concerts start promptly at 7:30PM. Doors open 30 minutes prior. Give yourself plenty of time to park and get to the venue. Latecomers will be escorted to seats by ushers at an appropriate interval.
Where do I park for Classically Uncorked performances?
Free parking is available at Donovan Pavilion.
How long do concerts last?
Concerts generally last 90 minutes to 2 hours including a scheduled intermission.
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. Tickets are also sold at the Donovan Pavilion 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 for Classically Uncorked?
Group discounts are not available for Classically Uncorked.
What if I buy tickets and cannot attend?
Tickets are non-refundable. You may exchange 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.
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What is the seating plan?
Seating for Classically Uncorked concerts is reserved seating at designated tables (4 guests per table) and is ADA (American Disability Act) accessible.
What food and beverages are available at the concert?
Gourmet hors d’oeuvres and two glasses of wine are included with each Classically Uncorked concert ticket. Non-alcoholic beverages may be substituted for wine.
What should I wear?
There is no dress code for concerts.
What are some general rules of Classically Uncorked 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. Parental supervision is required for all children attending Bravo! Vail concerts.
What is the Donovan Pavilion Child Policy?
Classically Uncorked concerts are very intimate. We strongly recommend that parents bring children aged six or older who are able to sit quietly through the entire performance. Although non-alcoholic beverages will be substituted for wine, there is no child price for Classically Uncorked tickets.
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 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).