The Elias String Quartet have long been celebrated, in Britain and abroad, for their subtle and fiery Beethoven performances. In the composer’s 250th anniversary year they present four of his quartets, from two contrasting works from Op. 18 to the sublime late A minor, Op. 132, with its otherworldly ‘Sacred Song of Thanksgiving’.
The Elias frame Beethoven with a delightful quartet from Haydn’s pioneering Op. 33 set, and the last and most lyrical of Schumann’s three quartets. They also pay tribute to two British composers: Henry Purcell’s Fantasias were much admired by Benjamin Britten, whose elegiac last quartet evokes his beloved Venice.
The Quartet was formed in 1998 at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester where it worked closely with the late Dr Christopher Rowland. It has performed at some of the world’s most prestigious chamber venues, including Carnegie Hall New York, the Washington Library of Congress, Musikverein Vienna, Konzerthaus Berlin and Het Concertgebouw Amsterdam.
Friday 26 March, 5.30pm
Talk at 5.00pm
Haydn, Op. 33, No. 5 in G How Do You Do?
Beethoven, No. 15 in A Minor, Op. 132
Saturday 27 March, 11.00am
Talk at 10.30am
Britten, No. 3 in G, Op. 94
Beethoven, No. 8 in E minor, Op. 59, No. 2 Razumovsky
Saturday 27 March, 5.30pm
Talk at 5.00pm
Beethoven, No. 3 in D, Op. 18
Schumann, No.3 in A, Op. 41
Sunday 28 March, 11.00am
Talk at 10.30am
Beethoven, No. 4 in C minor, Op. 18
Scottish Folk Tunes
Music writer, lecturer and broadcaster for BBC Radio 3. He writes for BBC Music Magazine and Gramophone and has taught classes in Lieder history and interpretation at the Guildhall, Trinity College of Music and Birkbeck College. He read French and German at Cambridge and later studied Music at the Guildhall. His publications include Schubert: The Complete Song Texts and Pocket Guide to Haydn. Twitter: @wigmoresworld | Website: wigmoresworld.co.uk
Prices, per person
Two sharing: standard double or twin £860; Garden Room £1,050. Single occupancy: double for sole use £980; single bedded room £860.
Four concerts and pre-concert talks, accommodation for two nights, breakfasts, two afternoon teas, two dinners, interval drinks, programme, tips for hotel staff.
The Castle Hotel in Taunton 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.