Chamber Music Weekends
Beethoven at The Castle
20th Feb 2020 until 24 Feb 2020
‘I don’t write for the galleries,’ proclaimed the young Beethoven. Indeed he didn’t. From the Op.1 piano trios – surely the most brilliant Op.1 in music history – to the sublime late quartets, Beethoven sought to stir and challenge rather than merely entertain. From the outset each new work was an ‘event’.
In February leading pianists and chamber musicians gather at the Castle Hotel, Taunton, to celebrate Beethoven’s 250th anniversary in unique style in 18 ‘concerts’ spanning his 35-year career. ‘Concerts’ is in inverted commas because we are re-inventing the conventional formula. There will be only one piece per concert (with two exceptions), each introduced by Richard Wigmore, often in discussion with the players. Then there will be a c. 25-minute interval before the next.
Interleaved with popular favourites like the Waldstein Sonata, the Razumovsky Quartets and the Archduke Trio are rarities such as the darkly brooding C minor String Trio and the quixotic Piano Sonata Op.54. You are sure to come away with your knowledge of Beethoven enriched, marvelling anew at the spiritual space the composer traversed between his Op.1 and Op.135.
Meet the musicians
The Mandelring Quartet are famed for their expressivity and remarkable homogeneity of sound and phrasing. They have been prize-winners at prestigious competitions such as Munich International Music Competition, Evian and Reggio Emilia. Their busy concert schedule has taken them to major venues and festivals worldwide.
The charismatic and sought-after Heath Quartet won the 2016 Gramophone Chamber Award for their recording of the complete string quartets of Sir Michael Tippett, and in May 2013 became the first ensemble in 15 years to win the prestigious Royal Philharmonic Society’s Young Artists Award.
The London Bridge Trio is one of Britain’s leading chamber ensembles, known for their deeply nuanced and searching interpretations. The trio originally formed in 2002 as the London Bridge Ensemble and they continue to prioritise strong, composer-led programmes and collaborate with regular guest artists.
With an extraordinary career spanning over four decades, Martin Roscoe is unarguably one of the UK’s best loved pianists. Martin has also performed with orchestras and festivals across Europe, Canada, Australia and the Far East, and shared the concert platform with eminent conductors such as Sir Simon Rattle, Sir Mark Elder and Christoph von Dohnányi.
Rachel Podger has established herself as a leading interpreter of the Baroque and Classical music periods. She was the first woman to be awarded the prestigious Royal Academy of Music/Kohn Foundation Bach Prize in October 2015 and was the 2018 Gramophone Artist of the Year.
Christopher Glynn is an award-winning pianist and accompanist, working with leading singers, instrumentalists and ensembles in concerts, broadcasts and recordings throughout the world. He is also Artistic Director of the Ryedale Festival, programming around 70 events each year in beautiful and historic venues across North Yorkshire.
Welsh pianist Llŷr Williams is widely admired for his profound musical intelligence, and for the expressive and communicative nature of his interpretations. An acclaimed performer of Beethoven, he has several complete sonata cycles under his belt, most recently at Wigmore Hall and the Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama, as well as a Concerto cycle with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra.
In 1989 Ian Fountain became the youngest winner of the Arthur Rubinstein Piano Masters Competition in Tel Aviv at the age of nineteen. He was educated as a chorister at New College, Oxford and later at Winchester College. He studied piano under Sulamita Aronovsky at the Royal Northern College of Music. Since that time he has enjoyed a wide-ranging and varied career, performing extensively throughout Europe, the USA, the UK and the Far East, with orchestras such as the London Symphony and Sir Colin Davis, the Israel Philharmonic and Zubin Mehta.