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Castalian String Quartet - Late Masterworks

Hear great classical music performed by outstanding musicians of international repute – the four players of the Castalian String Quartet are: Sini Simonen violin, Daniel Roberts violin, Ruth Gibson viola and Steffan Morris cello.

Enjoy the intimacy and intensity of a recital hall little bigger than a large drawing room.

Listen to talks on the music by critic and musicologist, Richard Wigmore.

Mingle with the musicians as well as like-minded fellow music lovers.

Stay in the award-winning Castle Hotel, Taunton – renowned for its excellent service, and for comforts traditional and modern.

Martin Randall Festival staff are in attendance to help these events run smoothly and enjoyably.

View our 2023 Chamber Music Breaks brochure

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Formed in 2011, the Castalian Quartet has since enjoyed success on the competition circuit (prizes at Lyon, Hannover and Banff) followed by selection to the Young Classical Artists Trust (YCAT) in 2016 and the Borletti-Buitoni Trust in 2018. 

Since their previous appearance at The Castle Taunton, at Rising Stars in early 2019, they have continued to gain international renown, adding Carnegie Hall, the Berlin Philharmonie, Concertgebouw Amsterdam and Vienna Konzerthaus, among others, to their list of recent debuts – while at home they have been announced as Artists in Residence at Wigmore Hall and Hans Keller String Quartet in Residence at the University of Oxford.

Their programme focusses on mature works by composers from across the centuries. Some you might naturally expect to hear in a programme of chamber music ‘greats’ – late, undeniably masterful quartets by Schubert, Mozart, Beethoven and Haydn that require little introduction here. Others, however, are heard less often – but are no less deserving of inclusion here. 

Sibelius’ Voces Intimae is the only full-scale chamber work from the composer’s mature period and, in its ‘intimate voices’, is frequently removed from the remote and faintly chilling sound world of his orchestral pieces. Here it is paired with a work by fellow Finnish composer Kaija Saariaho (b. 1952). Britten composed his third string quartet in the autumn of 1975, shortly before his death in 1976; completed in Venice, its final movement directly quotes a line from Death in Venice, his last operatic work. Dvořák's Op.106 quartet is of course one of the composer's best-loved late works.

Short (c. 15-minute) introductory talks on the music are provided by eminent broadcaster and musicologist Richard Wigmore at the beginning of each concert and again after the interval.

View the Spotify playlist for a sample of the music to be performed.



Friday 3 March, 5.30pm

Dvořák, String Quartet No.13 in G Op.106* 

Schubert, String Quartet in G D887


Saturday 4 March, 10.30am

Saariaho, Terra Memoria

Sibelius, String Quartet Op.56 Voces Intimae


Saturday 4 March, 5.30pm

Mozart, String Quartet No.15 in D minor K421

Beethoven, String Quartet in E flat Op.130 (including Große Fuge)


Sunday 5 March, 10.30am

Britten, String Quartet No.3 in G Op.94

Haydn, String Quartet in D Op.20 No.4


*Replaces the originally-programmed Elgar String Quartet in E minor Op.83.

Prices, per person

Two sharing: standard double £880; Garden Room £1,070.

Single occupancy: single bedded room £880; double for sole use £990. 



Four concerts with integrated talks, accommodation for two nights, breakfasts, two afternoon teas, two dinners, interval drinks, programme, tips for hotel staff. 



The Castle Hotel, Taunton

The Castle is renowned for its excellent service, for comforts traditional and modern, and for its superb catering. It has been owned and run by the Chapman family for over 60 years. Chamber music events have been held here since 1977, and Martin Randall Travel took over the running of them in 2003. 

The hotel’s bedrooms are individually and charmingly decorated. Doubles and twins are mainly of a good size, and the largest – the Garden Rooms – overlook the garden. There is no single-occupancy supplement for the rooms with single beds. The majority of rooms have a bath with a shower fitment.

The hotel has a lift, though some bedrooms are then accessed via stairs. The Music Room is on a mezzanine level, up a flight of stairs from the lobby.

Taunton lies on the doorstep of Exmoor and the Quantocks, areas with some of the loveliest countryside in England.


Tickets to individual concerts

£25 mornings, £30 evenings. Interval drinks and a programme are also included. Please contact The Castle Hotel directly to book individual concert tickets, on 01823 272 671 or visit

Map for Taunton.

'Wonderful hotel as location for concerts.'

'Richard Wigmore was inspirational and I really loved listening to his lectures. So knowledgeable and erudite.'

'Comfortable room, everything worked, attentive service throughout.'