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Beethoven at The Castle

The Mandelring Quartet • The Heath Quartet • London Bridge Trio • Martin Roscoe piano • Rachel Podger violin • Christopher Glynn piano • Llŷr Williams piano • Ian Fountain piano

Stay at The Castle Hotel in Taunton, which is among the most comfortable and agreeable hotels in England.

Concerts take place in the hotel’s ‘Music Room’, an intimate space the size of a large drawing room.

Pre-concert talks by Richard Wigmore, broadcaster, writer and lecturer.

Dinners, afternoon teas, interval drinks and even gratuities for hotel staff are also included in the price.

Tickets to individual concerts are also available. Please contact The Castle Hotel directly to purchase these (telephone 01823 272 671 or visit

The event is split into two modules – you can choose to book just one of these or both. From £980 per module or £1,920 combined. 20–24 February 2020 (MG108 & MG109). 

  • Beethoven, after a painting by Julius Schmid.
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‘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 (see page 4 for his biography), 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.

The event is split into two modules – you can choose to book just one of these or both.


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.


The event is split into two modules – you can choose to book just one of these or both.

Module 1, 20–22 February (MG108)

Thursday 20 February

3.30pm, London Bridge Trio:
Piano Trio Op.1 No.1

4.40pm, Martin Roscoe:
Piano Sonata Op.2 No.1

5.35pm, London Bridge Trio:
Cello Sonata in A, Op.69

6.40pm, London Bridge Trio:
Cello Sonata in C, Op.102


Friday 21 February

11.00am, London Bridge Trio & Gary Pomeroy: String Trio in C minor, Op.9 No.3

12.00, Martin Roscoe: Piano Sonata Op.31 No.2, Tempest; Piano Sonata Op.54

3.30pm, Heath Quartet:
String Quartet in D, Op.18 No.3

4.35pm, Martin Roscoe:
Piano Sonata Op.53, Waldstein

5.35pm, Heath Quartet:
String Quartet in F minor, Op.95

6.35pm, Heath Quartet:
String Quartet in F, Op.135


Saturday 22 February

11.00am, Rachel Podger & Christopher Glynn: Violin Sonata No.5 in F, Op.24, Spring

12.15pm: Rachel Podger & Christopher Glynn: Violin Sonata in G, Op.96


Module 2, 22–24 February (MG109)

Saturday 22 February

3.30pm, Heath Quartet:
String Quartet in F, Op.59 No.1

4.50pm, Llŷr Williams:
Piano Sonata in A, Op.101

5.45pm, Heath Quartet:
String Quartet in E flat, Op.74

6.55pm, Llŷr Williams:
Piano Sonata in E minor, Op.90


Sunday 23 February

11.00am, Mandelring Quartet:
String Quartet in E minor, Op.59 No.2

12.15pm, Llŷr Williams:
Piano Sonata in E, Op.109

3.30pm, Llŷr Williams:
Piano Sonata in C minor, Op.111

4.30pm, Llŷr Williams:
Piano Sonata in A flat, Op.110

5.25pm, Mandelring Quartet:
String Quartet in E flat, Op.127

6.35pm, Mandelring Quartet & Ian Fountain: Piano Trio Op.97, Archduke


Monday 24 February

11.00am, Mandelring Quartet:
String Quartet in B flat, Op.130,
with Grosse Fuge Op.133

Prices – per person

Module 1
Two sharing: standard double or twin £980; Garden Room £1,160. Single occupancy: single bedded room £980.

Module 2
Two sharing: standard double or twin £980; Garden Room £1,160. Single occupancy: single bedded room £980.

Modules 1 & 2 combined
Two sharing: standard double or twin £1,920; Garden Room £2,260. Single occupancy: single bedded room £1,920.

Please contact us to apply the discount for combining both modules 1 & 2.

Prices include – for each module

All concerts, talks, accommodation for two nights at The Castle Hotel, breakfasts, 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 sixty years. Chamber music events have been held here since 1977, and we 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.

Individual concert tickets

Available to people living within 30 miles of Taunton. £8 for all except the final concert, which is £16. Prices include a programme booklet but not an interval drink.

Individual concert tickets are handled by the hotel. Please call 01823 272 671 or visit

Map for Taunton.