As Mel Brooks said in “History of the World, Part I,” but, wait, there’s more.
The New York Philharmonic brought down the curtain on Bravo! Vail’s symphonic season at the Ford Amphitheater Friday, yet the festival continues this week with multiple chamber concerts in Vail.
The Silver Oak & Twomey Series runs Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday at the Donovan Pavilion. There’s a spectacular free concert Thursday at 1 p.m. at the Vail Interfaith Chapel and the Vail Mountain School hosts the festival’s finale Saturday with a “Four-Piano Bash” on Saturday.
• Wednesday, 7:30 p.m., Bach’s Goldberg Variations by Candlelight, Donovan Pavilion — Bravo! Vail artistic director Anne-Marie McDermott, who will be doing the variations, announced Friday from the Ford Amphitheater that this is a sellout. If you have tickets, go. If you have extras, give them to me. (Kidding.) This should be quite a memorable evening as it also includes Beethoven’s “Moonlight” Sonata.
• Thursday, 1 p.m., Solo Piano Music of Chopin, Vail Interfaith Chapel, free concert series — OK, solo Chopin Paino Music leaves quite a bit of material. More specifically, Pedja Muzijevic does Chopin’s Preludes.
• Thursday, 7:30 p.m., Mozart & Messiaen’s Quartet for the End of Time, Donovan Pavilion — Repeating a theme often found in this space, Mozart is always good. That’s a rule. The Messiaen has a tremendous story behind it. Olivier Messiaen was serving France during the Second World War as a member of the medical corps. He was taken prisoner by the Germans and imprisoned in Gorlitz.
The composer finished composing the quartet while in captivity and fellow musicians Messiaen met there performed the work’s debut in the prison.
Saturday, 6 p.m., Four-Piano Bash, chamber music series, Vail Mountain School — McDermott has joked she “went a little crazy” with the finale by turning it into a program for four pianos. The more, the merrier as far as we’re concerned. This is romp of a program, which includes Mozart, Saint-Saens, Bach and Czerny.
And recapping the final two New York Philharmonic concerts last week:
• Conductor Bramwell Tovey needs his own late-night show. He can do a better monologue than Jay Leno or David Letterman. (Heck, he even got an Anthony Weiner joke into his bit on Thursday.) On a serious note, Tovey does a very good job of introducing the music to those who may not know it well, and, also, tolerates the improper moments of well-intended enthusiasm from the audience well.
• Best line from Tovey: “We like to try it out on the road in New York City before we bring it here to Vail.”
• Congratulations to maestra Karen Herman who conducted the New York Philharmonic for a bit of Sibelius’ “Finlandia.” What a thrill. For those not familiar with this, a fund-raising method for a lot of orchestras in festivals is to have a benefactor get a twirl of the baton as a guest conductor. Thank you to Herman for your patronage.
The one thing that this brings up is don’t we all conduct at one point or another? I’ve conducted my record player, my Walkman, my tape-deck stereo, my CD player and my iPod at various point during the years. If you stop watching the orchestra during a performance and look about the Ford Amphitheater, you will see heads bobbing in rhythm, hands moving at key points and feet tapping all over the place. This is the collective concert experience.
• Excellent juxtaposition Wednesday: Selections from Copland’s Rodeo and Tovey’s “The Lincoln Tunnel Cabaret for Trombone and Orchestra.” That was American rural and urban right there.
• By the way, did we notice that two non-standard repertoire pieces were played on back-to-back nights (the Tovey and Adams’ “Short Ride in a Fast Machine)? The world did not spin off its axis. Again, new is not necessarily bad in the world of classical music.
• Holst’s “The Planets” was a superb way to end the symphonic portion of the season as dusk was falling and the orchestra was moving into the Neptune movement. Excellent placement too for the Women of the Evans Choir in that moment.
Staff Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934 or via firstname.lastname@example.org.