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The Elias String Quartet - Basically Beethoven

Sarah Bitlloch and Donald Grant violin Simone van der Giessen viola Marie Bitlloch cello

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.

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

26 - 28 Mar 2021 Fully booked

  • The Elias String Quartet, ©David Shapiro.
    The Elias String Quartet, ©David Shapiro.
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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

Purcell, Fantasias

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

Image of Richard Wigmore

Richard Wigmore

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:

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.

Map for Taunton.