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The Danube: Celebrating Beethoven - A musical voyage along Europe’s longest and loveliest river

Baritone Roderick Williams OBE and pianist Susie Allan perform Beethoven’s An die ferne Geliebte and Schubert’s Schwanengesang.

Pianist Andreas Staier performs a fascinating programme of late Beethoven Bagatelles and Sonatas.

The masterly Haydn Philharmonic performs Beethoven’s Symphonies 1 & 7.

The Amatis Trio play Beethoven’s Ghost and Archduke, two of the best-loved piano trios.

Imogen Cooper takes the stage with Beethoven’s monumental Diabelli Variations.

The Vienna Chamber Choir perform Beethoven’s glorious Mass in C in the Bergkirche in Eisenstadt, where it was premiered – a perfect union of music and place.

The Elias, who have received rapturous reviews of their recordings of the string quartets, perform in Grein’s enchanting 1791 theatre.

The Auryn, one of Germany’s top string quartets, play two masterpieces.

Beethoven’s ebullient Septet and Schubert’s irresistibly tuneful Octet in Melk Abbey, one of Central Europe’s greatest architectural achievements of the Baroque era.

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20 - 27 Aug 2021 £3,310 Book this tour

  • The Danube: Celebrating Beethoven
    Beethoven als Spaziergänger” (Beethoven out for a walk). Oil print, c.1890, after painting by Berthold Genzmer (1858–1927) ©akg-images.
  • Imogen Cooper ©Sim Canetty Clarke.
    Imogen Cooper ©Sim Canetty Clarke.
  • Roderick Williams ©Benjamin Ealovega.
    Roderick Williams ©Benjamin Ealovega.
  • Susie Allan ©Simon Denison.
    Susie Allan ©Simon Denison.
  • Haydn Philharmonic ©Nancy Horowitz.
    Haydn Philharmonic ©Nancy Horowitz.
  • Wiener Kammerchor ©Michael Farber.
    Wiener Kammerchor ©Michael Farber.
  • Andreas Stair ©Josep Molina.
    Andreas Staier ©Josep Molina.
  • Elias String Quartet.
    Elias String Quartet.
  • Bach Consort Wien ©Julia Wesey.
    Bach Consort Wien ©Julia Wesey.
  • Nash Ensemble ©K. Leighton.
    Nash Ensemble ©K. Leighton.
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Overview


Index

i. Introduction

ii. Discover the place

iii. Travelling in comfort

iv. The walking alternative

v. Meet the musicians


Introduction

“There are and will be a thousand princes; there is only one Beethoven.” (Ludwig van Beethoven)

The greatest composer of all time. This 26th iteration of our Danube festival focuses on Beethoven a year on from the 250th anniversary of his birth (unfortunately 2020 will live long in the memory for another reason). An eight-day celebration of arguably the greatest composer of all time, it includes nine concerts which showcase both the depth and breadth of his musical genius, from his larger masterpieces, such as Symphonies 1 and 7 and glorious Mass in C, to his more intimate piano works and string quartets. A smattering of Schubert provides variation. 

Musicians of the highest calibre from Austria, Germany and Britain. As with all Martin Randall Festivals, the musicians are among the finest in their fields. They include Imogen Cooper, Roderick Williams obe, the Elias Quartet, Andreas Staier, and the Nash Ensemble. Outstanding local artists also perform, such as the Wiener Kammerchor, Bach Consort Wien and the Haydn Philharmonic. Musicians love playing for this festival. Not only are the venues an inspiring change from conventional concert halls, but the audiences are among the best in the world – attentive, knowledgeable and appreciative.

A singularly beguiling combination of music and place. Concerts take place in historic buildings which are some of the most beautiful in the Danube valley – palaces, churches, monasteries and country houses. But the value of the juxtaposition goes deeper. The buildings are often of the same period as the music performed in them, and in some cases there are specific and potent historical associations between the two, such as the Bergkirche in Eisenstadt where Beethoven’s Mass in C was first performed. The performances are private, being exclusive to the participants who take the festival package (see details opposite). The small size of the audience and venues leads to an intimacy that engenders a rare intensity of musical communication.

Musical insight from a leading expert. Daily talks by musicologist and leading Beethoven scholar Professor Barry Cooper  enlighten, stimulate, and inform. 


Discover the place

To this exceptional artistic and intellectual experience is added a further pleasure: the comfort and convenience of a first-class river cruiser, chartered exclusively for the festival audience (130 maximum). Launched in 2015, the Amadeus Silver II is one of the more modern river cruisers in Europe.

Acting as both hotel and principal means of transport, it enables passengers to attend all the concerts and see some of the finest art and architecture in the region without having to change hotel or drive long distances. The itinerary takes you through some of the most picturesque stretches of the Danube.

In many ways, however, this venture is far removed from the usual cruising routine. There is little regimentation, no obligatory seating plan, no on-board entertainment, no intrusive announcements – and absolutely no piped music.


Travelling in comfort

To this exceptional artistic and intellectual experience is added a further pleasure: the comfort and convenience of a first-class river cruiser, chartered exclusively for the festival audience (130 maximum). Launched in 2015, the Amadeus Silver II is one of the more modern river cruisers in Europe.

Acting as both hotel and principal means of transport, it enables passengers to attend all the concerts and see some of the finest art and architecture in the region without having to change hotel or drive long distances. The itinerary takes you through some of the most picturesque stretches of the Danube.

In many ways, however, this venture is far removed from the usual cruising routine. There is little regimentation, no obligatory seating plan, no on-board entertainment, no intrusive announcements – and absolutely no piped music.


The walking alternative

Walking the Danube mixes the concerts with country walks. Eight of the concerts are included, and there are six walks of around two hours beside or close to the Danube. Participants stay in hotels rather than on the ship. The group is limited to twenty-two participants.


Meet the musicians

The Auryn Quartet

An outstanding career spanning thirty-three years, during which time the members have not changed, has made the Auryn Quartet one of the most sought-after chamber ensembles in the world. Their numerous recordings include all of Haydn’s quartets and a complete Beethoven cycle.

They have appeared worldwide at venues including Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw, and London’s Wigmore Hall, where they performed a complete cycle of the Beethoven quartets.

After four decades together, the Quartet announced have that they will disband at the end of the 2020-21 season.


Andreas Staier

Andreas Staier first became world famous as a harpsichordist. After studying with Lajos Rovatkay and Ton Koopman, he worked for three years with the Musica Antiqua Köln.

Whether at the harpsichord or the fortepiano, Staier performs at numerous renowned music festivals worldwide with ensembles such as the Freiburg Baroque Orchestra, Concerto Köln and the Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin.

Long-time musical partners include the pianists Alexander Melnikov, Christine Schornsheim and Tobias Koch, the violinists Isabelle Faust and Petra Müllejans and the tenor Christoph Prégardien.


Haydn Philharmonic

The Haydn Philharmonic – orchestra in residence at Esterházy Palace – was founded by Adam Fischer in 1987 as Austro-Hungarian Haydn Philharmonic with the intention of bringing together the best musicians from both countries to perform the works of Joseph Haydn in an effort to overcome the border created by the Iron Curtain.

The orchestra has made a name for itself outside the Esterházy Palace thanks to numerous tours and performances throughout Europe, the USA, Japan, Korea and China.


Roderick Williams

Roderick Williams is one of the most sought after baritones of his generation.  He performs a wide repertoire from baroque to contemporary music, in the opera house or on the concert platform worldwide.

He enjoys relationships with all the major UK opera houses and orchestras, as well as the Berlin Philharmonic, Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, Russian National Orchestra, Ensemble Orchestral de Paris, Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia in Rome, Cincinnati Symphony, Music of the Baroque Chicago, New York Philharmonic and Bach Collegium Japan.

He was awarded an OBE in June 2017.


Susie Allan

Susie Allan, one of today’s most perceptive pianists, performs with international vocal soloists including Emma Bell, Susan Gritton, Rowan Pierce, Jonathan McGovern and Mark Padmore.

Susie’s long-standing musical partnership with Roderick Williams stretches over twenty years. In an exploration of the three Schubert song cycles, a tour of Scwhanengesang, illustrated with poetry readings by Jenny Agutter, took them both sides of the Atlantic from New York City’s Park Avenue Armory to the Sam Wanamaker Theatre, London.

They recorded a third disc exploring the songs of Arthur Somervell, in Summer 2019.


Amatis Trio

The Amatis Piano Trio was founded in Amsterdam in 2014. Weeks after forming, the trio won the audience prize at the Grachtenfestival-Concours in Amsterdam, which quickly lead to their debut at the Royal Concertgebouw.

The young, international trio has since emerged as one of the leading piano trios among the new generation, receiving enthusiastic responses rom audiences and critics across the UK, Europe and Asia. Winners of the 2015 International Parkhouse Competition in Wigmore Hall, the trio has gone on to win several international prizes and competitions.


Imogen Cooper

Regarded as one of the finest interpreters of Classical and Romantic repertoire, Imogen Cooper is internationally renowned for her virtuosity and lyricism.

Imogen has a widespread international career and has appeared with the New York Philharmonic, Philadelphia, Vienna Philharmonic, Royal Concertgebouw, Leipzig Gewandhaus, Budapest Festival, NHK and London Symphony Orchestras.

Recent and future concerto performances include the Berliner Philharmoniker with Sir Simon Rattle, Sydney Symphony with Simone Young, the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra with Thomas Dausgaard and the Aurora Orchestra with Nicholas Collon.


Wiener Kammerchor

One of Austria’s finest choirs, the Wiener Kammerchor (Vienna Chamber Choir) performs throughout the country and abroad and has made many recordings.

Since its founding in 1947, the Choir has developed into a trend-setting international ensemble for the modern interpretation of choral music. It occupies a place on the Austrian cultural scene and at a range of important European festivals that would otherwise be difficult to fill.

Their conductor, Michael Grohotolsky, teaches at Vienna’s University of Music and Performing Arts and is also a freelance voice coach and lecturer.


Bach Consort Wien

Bach Consort Wien, co-founded by Rubén Dubrovsky in 1999 in Vienna, is one of Austria’s most important Baroque ensembles. In addition to numerous performances in the Vienna Musikverein, it is regularly present on concert stages throughout Europe. The ensemble found its specific musical language in the intensive study and analysis of J.S. Bach’s work.

Soloists have included Verónica Cangemi, Florian Boesch, Bernarda Fink, Carlos Mena, Emma Kirkby, Terry Wey, Deborah York, Antonio Giovannini, Kirsten Blaise, Yetzabel Arias, Yeree Suh, Gianluca Buratto, Daniel Johannsen, Christophe Coin and Erich Höbarth.


Nash Ensemble

The Nash Ensemble, Resident Chamber Ensemble at Wigmore Hall since 2010, is acclaimed for its adventurous programming and virtuoso performances. It presents works from Haydn to the avant-garde, and is a major contributor towards the recognition and promotion of contemporary composers.

Numerous awards and accolades have been won over the years, including The Edinburgh Festival Critics award ‘for general artistic excellence’ and two Royal Philharmonic Society awards.

In the 2019/20 season the Nash places the music of Schubert and his contemporaries, at the centre of its annual series.


The Elias String Quartet

The Elias Quartet take their name from Mendelssohn’s oratorio, Elijah. They formed at the Royal Northern College of Music where they became Junior Fellows and Associate Quartet. They spent a year studying at the Hochschule in Cologne with the Alban Berg String Quartet.

In 2009 the Elias participated in BBC Radio 3’s New Generation Artists’ scheme and was recipient of a Borletti-Buitoni Trust Award. As a result, the Elias Quartet mounted ‘The Beethoven Project’: performing Beethoven’s string quartets as cycles. The project culminated with a cycle at Wigmore Hall, recorded live for the Wigmore live label.

 

 

 

 

Day 1, Friday 20 August

Passau


Fly from London or Manchester or make your way to Passau independently. 

The ship is ready for boarding from 4.00pm. Afternoon tea is available upon arrival. 

Piled up on promontories at the confluence of three rivers, the Bavarian city of Passau is dominated by a great Baroque cathedral and crammed with historic buildings. It was one of the most important episcopal seats in Central Europe and served as a refuge for the Habsburg court in times of danger.

After sailing at 6.30pm there is a reception followed by dinner. In the early evening, once sailing, there is a reception followed by dinner.

Walkers: fly at c. 9.00am from London Heathrow to Vienna. Drive to Dürnstein, perhaps the loveliest little town on the river, where two nights are spent. Walk up to the ruins of a castle in which Richard the Lionheart was imprisoned which cling to a steep hill behind the town.


Day 2, 
Saturday 21 August

Grein, Dürnstein


Moor at Grein, a charming little town squeezed between the Danube and the hills with a sixteenth-century Schloss rising to one side. The series of daily lectures begins.

It is a short walk from the ship to the main square where the tiny theatre lies hidden within the town hall. Constructed in 1791, it is the oldest working theatre in Austria. Seating fewer than 150, the audience splits and the 60-minute concert is performed twice.

 

Concert, 10.30am & 12.00 noon:

Grein, Stadttheater

String Quartets

Elias Quartet

 

The programme consists of includes two of Beethoven’s quartet masterpieces, early and middle: String Quartets Op.18 No.4 in C minor, Op.74 No.10 in E flat Harp.

Return to the ship for lunch and sail downstream through the Wachau, one of the most beautiful stretches of the Danube, and moor at Dürnstein. The loveliest little town on the river, a gorgeous Baroque church is perched on the waterfront – which is the venue for the evening concert.

 

Recital, 6.30pm:

Dürnstein Abbey, Prälatensaal

Lieder by Beethoven & Schubert

Roderick Williams obe baritone

Susie Allan piano

 

Linked by their themes of distant or lost love, Beethoven’s revolutionary song cycle An die ferne Geliebte, Op.98 and Schubert’s sublime last songs Schwanengesang D957 (‘Swan song’, performed in English).are performed here by one of Britain’s leading song duos.

Return to the ship for dinner and sail overnight to Vienna.

Walkers: drive along a picturesque road beside the Danube to the little riverside town of Grein. The 10.30am concert is followed by lunch before setting out for an afternoon walk (c. 6 km). Begin in woods of pine, beech and birch to the sound of tumbling streams before descending through upland pastures and farmland. Walk on moderately gentle woodland paths and quiet roads, the few steep sections being fairly short. Catch glimpses of the Danube. Drive back to Dürnstein in time for the evening concert and dinner. Final night here.


Day 3, 
Sunday 22 August

Vienna


Moor in Nussdorf, twenty minutes by coach from the centre of Vienna.

Principal seat of the Habsburgs for over six hundred years, Vienna became capital of a vast agglomeration of territories that encompassed much of Central and Eastern Europe. The fabric of the city is a glorious mix of the magnificent and imperious and the charming and unpretentious. It remains one of the world’s greatest centres of art and music.

There is time to explore the city and an art gallery or two – the Kunsthistorisches Museum should not be missed – before the 4.30pm concert.

 

Concert, 4.30pm:

Vienna, Albertina

Solo piano: Beethoven

Imogen Cooper piano

 

Famed for her performances of the Viennese classics, Imogen Cooper brings her insights to Beethoven’s late, monumental set of Diabelli variations Op.120, the nineteenth century’s answer to Bach’s ‘Goldbergs’.

The Albertina, a Habsburg residence named after a son-in-law of Empress Maria Theresa, is home to one of the world’s greatest collections of prints and drawings. The building was refurbished at the beginning of the nineteenth century; our recital takes place in the light-filled, delicately Neo-Classical Hall of the Muses.

The programme includes Beethoven’s Symphonies No.1 in C, Op.21 and No.7 in A, Op.92 and Romance in F, Op.50.

After the concert join the ship at Nussdorf for dinner. Sail downstream during the night to Hainburg.

Walkers: drive to the Leopoldsberg, a high hill with fine views over the capital and the Danube valley. Walk down through beech woods, vineyards and salubrious ivy-clad suburbs on a 5.5 km walk on footpaths, country roads and quiet streets. Easy terrain. Visit the apartment in Heiligenstadt into which Beethoven moved in 1802, now a museum. Lunch here. Drive to central Vienna with time to refresh before the afternoon concert. First of three nights in Vienna.


Day 4, 
Monday 23 August

Eckartsau, Bratislava


The ship is moored in the little Austrian town of Hainburg, where Haydn went to school.

Disembark for the short drive to Schloss Eckartsau, a Baroque hunting lodge which was extended for Archduke Franz Ferdinand (he of the Sarajevo assassination 1914). Four years later, until March 1919, it became the last Austrian residence of the last Emperor of Austria.

 

Recital, 11.00am:

Eckartsau, Schloss Eckartsau

Solo piano: Beethoven

Andreas Staier fortepiano

 

The programme consists of Beethoven Bagatelles and Sonatas.

Return to the ship after the concert and sail downstream to Bratislava.

Now capital of Slovakia, Bratislava was for seventy years the second city of Czechoslovakia and for three hundred years before that the capital (as Pressburg) of the Habsburg rump of Hungary while Ottoman Turks occupied most of the country. Its compact historic centre is a delight, one of the loveliest along the Danube, a dense mesh of unspoilt streets, squares and well restored façades. There are several museums and historic buildings to visit before an early-evening concert.

 

Concert, 5.00pm:

Bratislava, Primatial Palace

Beethoven Piano Trios

Amatis Piano Trio

 

The concert takes place in the Mirror Hall of the Primatial Palace, formerly the seat of the Archbishop of Hungary, now the Town Hall. When completed in 1781 it was the grandest building in Bratislava after the castle. The programme includes Beethoven’s Piano Trios Op.70 No.1 Ghost and Op. 97 Archduke.

Return to the ship for dinner and sail upstream to Vienna overnight.

Walkers: drive to Eckartsau and attend the morning concert. Picnic lunch here before an afternoon circular walk (c.7 km), in the national park surrounding the Schloss. Drive to Bratislava for the evening concert. Dinner in Bratislava. Return to Vienna for the second of three nights.


Day 5, 
Tuesday 24 August

Vienna, Eisenstadt


Moor at Nussdorf, where we return to Vienna for a morning concert at the Konzerthaus.

 

Recital, 11.00am:

Vienna, Konzerthaus

String Quartets

Auryn Quartet

 

The Auryn Quartet performs two great contrasting Beethoven String Quartets: No.11, Op.95 Serioso and No. 9 Op.59, No.3, Razumovsky.

The prolific architectural firm of Fellner & Helmer designed opera houses and concert halls throughout the Habsburg Empire, but the Konzerthaus (1911–13) was their largest undertaking. The 300-seat Schubert-Saal is the smallest of the three auditoria within the complex. 

Return to the ship for lunch before driving to Eisenstadt, an attractive country town to the south-east of Vienna. It is dominated by a vast seventeenth-century mansion, the principal seat of the Esterházy family, where many of Haydn’s works were first performed.

Up the hill, stands the eighteenth-century Bergkirche, a presbytery of a much larger building that was planned but never built.

A successor to Haydn’s late masses, Beethoven’s glorious Mass in C is performed here, where it was premiered in 1807. The church interior is a rococo trompe l’oeil fantasy in pinks and greys.

 

Concert, 5.00pm:

Eisenstadt, Bergkirche

Beethoven Mass in C

Wiener Kammerchor

Bach Consort Vienna

Soloists tbc

 

Sail overnight to Melk, mooring after lunch tomorrow.

Walkers: attend the morning concert. Three hours of free time in Vienna for independent exploration before driving to Eisenstadt for some more free time, perhaps to visit the the Haydn House museum or the Esterházy Palace. Attend the evening concert before returning to Vienna for the third and final night.


Day 6, 
Wednesday 25 August

Melk


Shortly after lunch Melk Abbey appears ahead, dramatically rising on a rock outcrop beside the Danube. Disembark here for a visit to the abbey, one of the most brilliant creations of the Age of Baroque, a sequence comprising ceremonial courtyards, guest apartments, hall and library culminating in a church of unsurpassed decorative richness.

 

Concert, 4.30pm:

Melk Abbey, Kolomanisaal

Beethoven Septet & Schubert Octet

Nash Ensemble

 

This is a rare chance to hear in the same programme Beethoven’s ebullient Septet in E-flat, Op.20 - his greatest popular hit in his lifetime - and the ‘twin’ it inspired, Schubert’s irresistbly tuneful Octet in F, D. 803

Return to the ship for dinner. Sail overnight to Linz, mooring after lunch tomorrow.

Walkers: drive to Felbring for a morning woodland walk through landscapes of beech and pine with vistas across the Danube Valley. Walk c. 6km on a mixture of grassy footpaths and stony tracks, on level terrain with some downhill and uphill sections (sturdy walking boots are necessary). Lunch in Melk before a guided tour of the Abbey and the afternoon concert. Return to Dürnstein. Overnight here.


Day 7, Thursday 26 August

Linz


Arrive in Linz, the historic capital of Upper Austria, towards the end of the morning. A picturesque maze of streets, alleys and historic buildings is grouped around the huge market square, only yards from the mooring.

 

Concert, 4.00pm:

Linz, Palais Kaufmännischer Verein

Symphonies

Haydn Philharmonic

 

Our symphonic finale includes Beethoven’s exuberant First Symphony, with which he announced himself as the successor of Haydn and Mozart, while the Seventh, dubbed by Wagner ‘the apotheosis of the dance’, was among the greatest triumphs of his career.

Sail upstream overnight from Linz to Passau, with a reception and dinner against a backdrop of river and wooded hills receding into the dusk.

Walkers: a morning walk of c. 6.5km starts with a climb of 15 minutes on a small road into the vine-clad hills overlooking the Danube and dips periodically into shaded gullies with butterflies, abundant wildflowers and red-roofed villages in the valley below. The terrain is easy underfoot as the walk is predominantly on quiet, shaded roads. Return to Dürnstein for some free time before travelling by coach to Vienna Airport. Return to Heathrow at c. 6.40pm.


Day 8, 
Friday 27 August

Passau, Munich


The ship moors at Passau and coaches leave for Munich city centre and the airport between 8.30 and 9.30am. See page 18 for the options available for return travel to London. Selecting Option 2 allows for an afternoon of independent sightseeing in Munich.

Index

i. The festival package

ii. The ship

iii. Travel options

iv. More about the concerts

v. Fitness for the festival

vi. Travel advice


The festival package

Access to the concerts is exclusive to those who take the festival package, the price for which includes:

— Nine private concerts (eight for the Walking Party).

— Daily lectures on the music.

— Accommodation on a first-class river cruiser for seven nights (or in hotels for the Walking Party).

— Return flights between the UK and Munich. Reduced price if you choose to opt out of these. See page 18.

— All meals, with wine and other drinks, and interval drinks.

— Coach travel for airport transfers and to the concert venues, when not reached on foot.

— All tips, taxes and admission charges.

— A detailed programme booklet.

— The assistance of an experienced team of German-speaking festival staff.


The ship

The Amadeus Silver II is one of the newest ships in the Lüftner fleet, and one of the most comfortable river cruisers in Europe. The multinational crew is dedicated to the highest standards of service.

With a floor area of 16m2 (Haydn deck) or 17m2 (Strauss and Mozart decks) the cabins are reasonably spacious by the standards of river cruisers. All have windows to the outside and are equipped with the facilities one would expect of a first-class hotel such as adjustable air-conditioning, telephone, TV and safe. Bathrooms have showers only. Special attention has been paid to noise insulation.

In layout and furnishings the cabins are identical, the significant differences being the size of windows and height above water level (higher cabins enjoy better views and fewer stairs).

Cabins on the top decks (Mozart and Strauss) are the most desirable, with floor-to-ceiling windows which slide open, and minibars. There are twelve suites (Mozart) measuring 26m2 with a corner sofa area and small balcony. Cabins on the lowest (Haydn) deck have smaller windows which do not open. There are no single cabins as such but we are allocating some twin-bed cabins for single occupancy.

The public areas include the lounge and bar, a library area and a restaurant which can seat everyone at a single sitting. The sun deck has a tented area for shade.

www.lueftner-cruises.com



Prices

Haydn deck – lowest

Two sharing: £3,310 per person

Single occupancy: £3,910

 

Strauss deck – middle

Two sharing: £3,990 per person

Single occupancy: £4,710

 

Mozart deck – top

Two sharing: £4,440 per person

Single occupancy: £5,240

 

Suites – Mozart deck

Two sharing: £5,260 per person

Not available for single occupancy

 

No flights: if you choose not to take one of the flight options on page 18, there is a price reduction of £170 per person.

 

Travel options

Flights with Lufthansa from London or Manchester to Munich are included in the price, or you can choose to make your own arrangements for travel to and from the festival, for which there is a price reduction.


Option 1: Heathrow, lunch at Landshut

Friday 20th August: London Heathrow to Munich (LH 2471) departing at 09.00 and arriving at 11.50. Break the drive to Passau with lunch at Landshut, a former capital of Bavaria. There are two hours here; it should be possible to see the main street with its Renaissance and Baroque house fronts, the great Gothic church of St Martin or the precociously Italianate Renaissance ducal palace.

Friday 27th August: Munich to London Heathrow (LH 2476) departing at 14.45 and arriving at 15.45.


Option 2: Heathrow, free time in Munich

Friday 20th August: London Heathrow to Munich (LH 2473) departing at 10.55 and arriving at 13.45. Drive directly from the airport to the ship at Passau, a journey of under two hours.

Friday 27th August: Munich to London Heathrow (LH 2480) departing at 18.40 and arriving at 19.40. Coaches take you first to the centre of Munich, where you have about four hours of free time.


Option 3: Manchester

Friday 20th August: Manchester to Munich (LH 2501) departing at 10.45 and arriving at 13.40. Drive directly from the airport to the ship at Passau, a journey of under two hours.

Friday 27th August: Munich to London Manchester (LH 2502) departing at 15.55 and arriving at 17.00. Coaches take you first to the centre of Munich, where you have about two hours of free time.


Flights from other destinations

It may be possible to book individual flights from alternative destinations - contact us to discuss your requirements.


Rail option

It is possible to travel by train from London to Passau, c. 16 hours outbound via Brussels and overnight, arriving early Friday morning. The return journey takes c. 12 hours via Frankfurt and Brussels.

Contact us for more information.


The no group travel option

You can choose not to take any of our flight options and to make your own arrangements for joining and leaving the ship. You are welcome to join our airport coach transfers if your flights or trains coincide with any of the options above.

Price reduction for ‘no flights’: £170.


More about the concerts

Private. All the performances are planned and administered by us, and the audience consists exclusively of those who have taken the festival package.

Acoustics. This festival is more concerned with locale and authenticity than with acoustic perfection. The venues may have idiosyncrasies or reverberations of the sort not found in modern concert halls.

Seating. Specific seats are not reserved. You sit where you want.

Changes. Musicians fall ill, venues may close for repairs, airlines alter schedules: there are many circumstances which could necessitate changes to the programme. We ask you to be understanding should they occur.

Floods and droughts. We cannot rule out changes to the programme arising from exceptionally high or low water levels on the Danube, either of which may bring river traffic to a halt. These might necessitate more travel by coach or the loss of a concert, though we would always try to minimise the impact on the itinerary.


Fitness for the festival

Quite a lot of walking is necessary to reach the concert venues and to get around the towns visited. The ship has a lift, but some of the venues do not. Participants need to be averagely fit, sure-footed and able to manage everyday walking and stairclimbing without difficulty.

We ask that you take the simple fitness tests before booking.

If you have a medical condition or a disability which may affect your holiday or necessitate special arrangements being made for you, please discuss these with us before booking – or, if the condition develops or changes subsequently, as soon as possible before departure.


Travel advice

Before booking, please refer to the FCO website to ensure you are happy with the travel advice for the destination(s) you are visiting: www.fco.gov.uk.

'The opportunity to hear top class artists in attractive surroundings without the hassle of booking, travel and planning is worth a lot.'

'Outstanding. It would be hard to think of where else one might attend such a series of concerts of such a high standard in so short a period of time. It was a quality tour, in a beautiful part of the world, with world class concerts supported by good food and wine.'

'This was my first experience of cruising but I hope not my last. The ship was comfortable and the crew provided good service. The food was excellent.'