Bravo! pays homage to the classics this week | VailDaily.com
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Bravo! pays homage to the classics this week

Lynne Mazza
Vail CO, Colorado
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Editor’s note: Lynne Mazza is the associate artistic director of Bravo! Vail Valley Music Festival. Each week, this column will share her personal upcoming concert favorites.

The Miami String Quartet, along with cellist Sophie Shao, bring their sumptuous strings to Gypsum Thursday as part of Bravo’s complimentary Casual Classics. Mozart, Shostakovich, Debussy, Boccherini and Schuber ” gems of the chamber music literature ” make up the evening’s repertoire.

From chamber strings to orchestral strings, the festival continues with the New York Philharmonic’s opening night Friday. Music director designate Alan Gilbert and the commanding pianist Lang Lang lead the night with Tchaikovsky’s triumphant first piano concerto and Beethoven’s elegant and graceful “Symphony No. 4.” A romantic theory popular at the 19th century’s end connects this symphony to the intriguing “Immortal Beloved,” the object of Beethoven’s desires as expressed in his notebooks and diaries. Perhaps Beethoven was amorously motivated as he put aside another symphony he was working on (now known as “Symphony No. 5”) to focus on No. 4.

The evening concludes with Sibelius’s “Finlandia,” the product of the late 19th century’s musical nationalism and his most recognizable work. It’s become the anthem of his homeland.

The powerful combination of Shostakovich and Richard Strauss dominate Maestro Gilbert’s Saturday evening. Cellist Heinrich Schiff, celebrated for his Shostakovich interpretations, will bring the composer’s powerful first cello concerto to life. The experience will be inspirational, as well as visually mesmerizing (you will think to yourself: “How does Schiff do that?!”). Festive evening Sunday with Maestro Bramwell Tovey features virtuosic displays by violinist James Ehnes with gems of the violin and orchestra repertoire by Sarasate and Saint-Saëns; complementary orchestral lovelies by Mascagni, Rimsky-Korsakov ad Falla ” an evening that will lift your spirits.

Tuesday offers Bravo chamber at the Vilar with dazzling pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet and his buddies, the Rossetti String Quartet. Their interpretation of Brahms’ F minor piano quintet is legendary. The broadly impassioned Moszkowksi suite for two violins and piano opens the concert with Jean-Yves and Rossetti violinists. The charming Wolf Italian Serenade, his most famous non-vocal work, performed by distinguished Bravo chamber artists, will serve as a centerpiece for the evening. The warmth and beauty of the Vilar Center, along with its superb acoustics, will provide a perfect setting for this powerful and breathtaking chamber music evening. Chamber music is a very special experience. Don’t be intimated ” just come and listen; you will be pleasantly surprised, even amazed, I guarantee it.

Wednesday is Bravo’s afternoon Causal Classics at the Vail Chapel, a lovely space for chamber music. Mozart’s renowned duo for violin and viola, with violinist Rachel Barton Pine, making her Bravo debut, joins festival favorite violist Nokuthula Ngwenyama. There is a charming story behind the composition of this piece; come to the concert and read about it in the festival program. All are familiar with Mendelssohn’s magnificent, and only, Octet, but we at Bravo are excited to introduce a new octet by Joachim Raff (who also only wrote one), who worshipped Mendelssohn; though Mendelssohn’s influence is obvious, Raff has his own style.

Come, listen and compare, and let us know what you think. Also join us Wednesday evening at the Ford Amphitheater for another New York Philharmonic happening, with Maestro Bramwell Tovey and pianist Joyce Yang performing Rachmaninoff’s powerful “Piano Concerto No. 2,” dedicated to Dr. Dahl, who helped Rachmaninoff recover from a period of depression and despair following the failure of his first Symphony. Maestro Tovey will conclude with selections from Prokofiev’s “Romeo and Juliet,” one of the most treasured Russian ballets. Festival Patron Argie Tang has the honor of making her conducting debut, opening this New York Philharmonic evening with Beethoven’s Turkish March. It will be a real treat for concert-goers to see Argie Tang conduct and an even bigger treat for her to have this honor. Who else can say they’ve conducted one of the best orchestras in the country right here in the Vail Valley?

Mark your calendars: the Dallas Symphony Orchestra will return to the Vail Valley in 2009, along with their new and charismatic music director Jaap van Zweden, famous for his association with Amsterdam’s renowned Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra.

For Bravo! tickets and concert information call 877-812-5700 or visit vailmusicfestival.org.


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