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Music along the Rhine - Outstanding music, beautiful countryside and historic towns along Germany’s principal river

By ship through the heart of Europe, world-class concerts in historic buildings, Bach to Beethoven and Hildegard of Bingen to Hugo Wolf: pleasures for the senses and balm for the soul, few better weeks for music lovers can be imagined.

Musicians of the highest calibre, including the Freiburg Baroque Consort, pianist Freddy Kempf, exceptional early music ensemble Cantus Cölln and star soprano Dorothea Röschmann with Malcolm Martineau.

Choice between accommodation on a ship which cruises from Basel to Amsterdam or in hotels for a variant which features country walks: Walking the Rhine Valley.

Daily talks by leading authorities on music and history.

View the brochure

Download a booking form

15 - 22 Jun 2021 £3,340 Book this tour

  • W. Turner, 'On the Rhine', c. 1830,  ©Sotheby’s / akg-images
    W. Turner, 'On the Rhine', c. 1830, ©Sotheby’s / akg-images
  • Dorothea Röschmann ©Harald Hoffman.
    Dorothea Röschmann ©Harald Hoffman.
  • Malcolm Martineau ©Alessandro Moggi.
    Malcolm Martineau ©Alessandro Moggi.
  • Freiburg Baroque Orchestra ©Annelies an der Vegt.
    Freiburg Baroque Orchestra ©Annelies an der Vegt.
  • Mandelring Quartet ©Uwe Arens.
    Mandelring Quartet ©Uwe Arens.
  • Cantus Cölln ©Stefan Schweiger.
    Cantus Cölln ©Stefan Schweiger.
  • Per Sonat ©Daniel Blaser.
    Per Sonat ©Daniel Blaser.
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Overview


Introduction

Welcome to a private festival

First launched in 1997, there have been eleven previous editions of Music Along the Rhine. Every one has been different, but all are characterised by high quality performances in beautiful and appropriate historic buildings.

The concerts are effectively private, being exclusive to participants (maximum 140) who book a package which also includes accommodation, meals, interval drinks, travel by river and road, lectures and a range of other services.

 

The finest musicians and halls

As with all Martin Randall Festivals, the musicians are among the finest in their fields. They include the Freiburg Baroque Consort, pianist Freddy Kempf, exceptional early music ensemble Cantus Cölln and star soprano Dorothea Röschmann with Malcolm Martineau.

Alongside established names there are some lesser-known but critically-acclaimed ensembles: Die Taschenphilharmonie (Pocket Philharmonic) and the early-music consort Per Sonat. In line with our policy of reducing musician-miles, most of the festival’s artists are based in the countries through which we pass.

Most of the concert venues are historic buildings, all have beauty or charm and many are of the same period as the music performed in them. All are relatively small, leading to an informality and intimacy of musical communication which engenders a heightened artistic experience.

 

Comfortable cruiser 

To this cultural richness is added a further pleasure, the comfort and convenience of a first-class river cruiser, chartered exclusively for the festival audience. MS Amadeus Brilliant, launched in 2011 and fully renovated in 2020, is one of the more comfortable passenger ships
on European waters.

Acting as both hotel and principal means of transport, it sails from Basel to Amsterdam, enabling passengers to attend all the concerts and see some of the finest sights in the region without having to change hotel or drive long distances.

The experience differs significantly from conventional cruising in many ways. There is little regimentation, no obligatory seating plan, no on-board entertainment, announcements are kept to a minimum – and there is absolutely no piped music.

 

The walking alternative

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

 

Discover the place

On its way from its source in the Swiss Alps to the North Sea Basin in the Netherlands, the waters of the River Rhine travel more than a thousand kilometres.

The Rhine has always been an important trading route, a catalyst for bringing people together and for transmitting cultural as well as material goods. Yet the river has also been a barrier. It once constituted the Roman Empire’s most definitive natural land frontier, and today it marks the borders of five countries.

As you sail from Basel, the highest point accessible to modern shipping, to Amsterdam, you pass through a range of exceptional landscapes – the rolling hills of the Black Forest and the Upper Rhine, the astonishing gorge between Bingen and Koblenz, the dairy farms and pollarded willows of the Lower Rhine. These scenes are much evoked in German folklore and Romantic poetry and music.

Vineyards are spread across many of the slopes for the first half of the journey, castle ruins cap nearly every peak in the Middle Rhine and villages, picturesque towns and ancient cities punctuate the rural scene the whole way. This is still an economically essential river, alive with laden barges and intermittently flanked by impressive industrial installations.

Travelling the length of this fascinating river traverses thousands of years of history through regions famous for their wine, music, literature, architecture and beautiful countryside.

 

Meet the musicians

Dorothea Röschmann

Born in Flensburg, Dorothea Röschmann was awarded the title of Kammersängerin at the Deutsche Staatsoper Berlin in 2016. She has been a frequent guest at the Salzburg Festival since 1995 and works regularly at the Wiener Staatsoper, Bayerische Staatsoper Munich, Semperoper Dresden and the Royal Opera House Covent Garden. A renowned recitalist, she was awarded a Grammy in 2017 for her solo recital CD with Mitsuko Uchida.


Malcolm Martineau

One of the world’s greatest accompanists, Malcolm Martineau performs throughout the world with many of the leading singers of our time. He was awarded an OBE in the 2016 New Year’s Honours.


Cantus Cölln

Cantus Cölln was formed in 1987 by lutenist Konrad Junghänel. All the singers in the group have successful solo careers and it is recognised as one of the most accomplished Early Music ensembles in the world. Core repertoire includes German and Italian vocal repertoire of the Renaissance and the Baroque and their numerous CDs include highly-acclaimed recordings of Bach motets and cantatas. In 2000, they received the Buxtehude Prize for extraordinary achievement in the field of sacred music. 2021 marks Cantus Cölln’s thirty-fifth and final year as an ensemble.

Konrad Junghänel is one of the leading conductors in the field of Early Music. He began his career as internationally renowned lutenist and interpreter of J.S. Bach. He is a professor at the State Conservatoire of Music in Cologne.


Freiburg Baroque Consort

A chamber ensemble formed from members of the Freiburg Baroque Orchestra, among the most brilliant and celebrated period-instrument orchestras in the world today. Formed by students at the Freiburg music school in 1985, from the outset they were devoted to careful research into historical performance practice and, in the absence of a conductor, lively discussions about interpretation. Scholarship never dampens their artistic instincts, and they play with unsurpassed verve and virtuosity and breath-taking synchronicity – a by-product of being one of the busiest of chamber orchestras.


Taschenphilharmonie (Pocket Philharmonic)

Founded in 2005 by conductor Peter Stangel, the Munich-based Pocket Philharmonic have built on a principle famously developed in 1918 in Vienna by Arnold Schönberg, in which large-scale orchestral works were performed by small but gifted ensembles. The Pocket Philharmonic’s twelve to nineteen first-rate musicians aim to bring the music closer to the listener, providing an opportunity to hear each instrument clearly; each note becomes important, and listeners hear things that can be drowned out in a large orchestra. In 2018 they released the first-ever recording of the complete Beethoven symphonies in chamber symphony form.

Conductor and composer Peter Stangel has guest conducted of a number of operas in Europe, including St. Gallen, Innsbruck and the State Opera House in Munich. From 1999 to 2002, he was the musical director and chief conductor of the Max Bruch Philharmonic Orchestra and the Nordhausen Theatre.


Mandelring Quartet

In a career spanning over 30 years the Mandelring Quartet has established a reputation as one of the world’s leading string quartets. Famed for their expressivity and remarkable homogeneity of sound and phrasing they have won numerous prizes for their recordings as well as 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, including their own festival, the Hambacher Musikfest and an annual concert series at the Berliner Philharmonie.


Per Sonat

Per Sonat was formed in 2008 by soprano Sabine Lutzenberger, a renowned pioneer of medieval singing, and since then the ensemble has been dedicated to the task of researching medieval and renaissance music and bringing it closer to their audiences through their performances. The ensemble has performed at major festivals in Germany and across Europe including Oude Muziek in Utrecht and Stockholm Early Music Festival.


Basler Madrigalisten

Basler Madrigalisten are Switzerland’s oldest and first professional chamber choir. They specialise in the interpretation of old and new music and regularly premiere commissions by contemporary composers. The choir has performed at the most prestigious of European cultural institutions and festivals including the Berliner Festspiele, Lucerne Festival and Zurich Opera House. Over thirty CD recordings document their varied and unique repertoire, garnering numerous prizes.

Artistic director Raphael Immoos is professor for choral conducting and the conductor of various vocal ensembles at the University of Music in Basel as well as the artistic director of the Summer Academy Thun.


New Dutch Academy

Founded in 2002 by conductor and violist Simon Murphy, The New Dutch Academy (NDA) is an award-winning group of highly engaged specialist musicians from around the world. Using authentic instruments, they explore 18th-century music in all its forms, their repertoire embracing music from across Europe, though they also focus on composers who lived and worked in the Netherlands. They have toured in four continents, winning acclaim for their fresh, vibrant and dynamic performance style.

Simon Murphy was born in Sydney and studied viola there before moving to the Netherlands. Performing at the world’s most prestigious halls and festivals, he has won international recognitions for delivering fresh perspectives on classic symphonic repertoire and for bringing newly rediscovered master-works to life, with enthusiasm, sensitivity and élan.


Freddy Kempf

Freddy Kempf is one of today’s most successful pianists performing to sell-out audiences all over the world. Exceptionally gifted with an unusually broad repertoire, Freddy has built a unique reputation as an explosive and physical performer who is not afraid to take risks as well as a serious, sensitive and profoundly musical artist. Born in London in 1977, Freddy made his concerto debut with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra at the age of 8 and further came to national prominence in 1992 when he won the BBC Young Musician of the Year Competition. A committed recitalist, Freddy has appeared in many of the world’s most important concert halls. Most recent career highlights include Freddy’s debut at the BBC Proms, an extensive Asian tour including Seoul Arts Centre and PyeongChang Chamber Music Festival in South Korea.

Day 1

Tuesday 15 June

Basel

Our ship, MS Amadeus Brilliant, is moored in Basel. You can board any time from 4.00pm onwards.

Straddling the Rhine at the uppermost point for shipping, the Swiss city of Basel (Bâle) abuts the borders of France and Germany. It retains much of its centuries-old streetscape and architecture, which includes a fine medieval cathedral. There are many excellent art museums here, chief among which is the Kunstmuseum, Switzerland’s finest gallery of historic art. Do consider arriving a day or two (or three) before the start of the festival because there is plenty to enjoy here. 

Concert, 5.30pm

Church of St Peter, Basel

A song sleeps in all things

Basler Madrigalisten


The first concert is a perfect opener, a choral exploration of Romantic sentiment as expressed in poetry and part song. There is a single writer, the poet Joseph von Eichendorff, a key figure in the history of Romanticism, but several composers – Clara Schumann, Robert Schumann, Felix Mendelssohn, Johannes Brahms, Hugo Wolf and Richard Strauss.

Afterwards, a drinks reception is followed by dinner in the ship’s restaurant,

The ship remains moored in Basel overnight and sails at 6.00am to Breisach.

Walking Party: fly in the afternoon to Basel airport. Coach to Freiburg where two nights are spent.

 

Day 2

Wednesday 16 June 

Breisach, Freiburg im Breisgau

Sail from Basel at 6.00am for the four-hour voyage to Breisach, with breakfast and the first of the morning lectures with the alluring scenery of the Upper Rhine passing by. Moor at Breisach, where there is a choice of morning activity and lunch place.

You can spend the rest of the morning in the attractive town of Breisach, which is built on a hill rising from the water’s edge with a Gothic church at its summit; the climb is rewarded by fine views and an exquisite carved altarpiece. Lunch is on the ship before setting off for the afternoon concert in Freiburg-im-Breisgau.

Alternatively, you can join coaches to Freiburg immediately after the morning lecture for free time and an independent lunch there before the afternoon concert. Around Freiburg’s magnificent Gothic minster, which has Germany’s tallest medieval spire, there is a rich mix of historic buildings, and the Augustinermuseum has one of Germany’s best collections of medieval and Renaissance arts.

This afternoon’s venue – the Historisches Kaufhaus (Merchants’ Hall) – has a striking Late Gothic façade with an interior that has been adapted over several centuries.

Concert, 4.00pm:

Historisches Kaufhaus, Freiburg

Lieder by Mendelssohn, Schumann & Wolf

Dorothea Röschmann soprano

Malcolm Martineau piano


The theme of Romantic song is picked up again, featuring Mendelssohn, Schumann and Wolf, but this time for piano and soprano solo. Exquisite, intimate and subtle, these songs explore the images and emotions evoked by the poetry as if eavesdropping on a remarkable private confession. The second half consists of Frauenliebe und Leben, the cycle by Robert Schumann which is as unsettling as it is beautiful, and as controversial now as in 1839.

Return to the ship after the concert and sail to Speyer.

Walking Party: there is a morning walk in the foothills of the Vosges followed by free time in Freiburg before the afternoon concert. Final night in Freiburg.

 

Day 3

Thursday 17 June

Speyer, Schwetzingen

Moor at Speyer towards dawn. Separated from the river by wooded parkland, the little city is dominated by the largest Romanesque cathedral in Germany, burial place of the Salian emperors. You have most of the morning here, time enough to visit the cathedral and maybe the cathedral museum, or just to enjoy wandering the picturesque streets.

An alternative is to join the coach after the lecture for a guided tour of the gardens at Schloss Schwetzingen (see below). There is plenty of time for an independent lunch here and maybe to visit the mansion attached to the garden.

The rest have lunch on board before driving to Schloss Schwetzingen, summer residence in the 18th century of the Electors Palatine. The historic gardens are among the most beautiful and extensive in Europe – Baroque, Rococo, Romantic, embellished with statuary, waterworks and pavilions.

Concert, 3.15pm:

Mozartsaal, Schloss Schwetzingen

Freiburg Baroque Consort


The Freiburg Baroque Consort is a chamber ensemble formed from members of the Freiburg Baroque Orchestra, among the most brilliant and celebrated period-instrument orchestras in the world today. Programme to be confirmed.

Return to the ship for early dinner before walking to the evening concert in Speyer.    

Concert, 8.45pm:

Speyer, Church of The Holy Trinity

Bach motets

Cantus Cölln

Konrad Junghänel director


The interior of Holy Trinity retains its early 18th-century appearance in its entirety, with tiers of galleries and an abundance of carvings, making it the perfect place in which to hear motets by Johann Sebastian Bach. In the words of Nicholas Kenyon, among the various bodies of Bach’s music few are so perfect and so gem-like as his motets. He may well have conceived them for training his boys, enabling them to grasp the main techniques such as fugues, chorale settings and concerto-type writing. Despite this didactic origin, they remain unqualified masterpieces.

This will be one of the last opportunities to hear Cantus Cölln, who will disperse in 2021 after a highly distinguished career of 35 years.

Moor overnight at Speyer.

Walking Party: drive north for a morning walk in the Palatinate Forest. Continue to Schwetzingen and attend the afternoon concert. Return to Speyer for dinner and the evening concert. Overnight in Speyer.

 

Day 4

Friday 18 June

Bingen

Having set sail at 6.00am, the morning is spent sailing through the Middle Rhine, some of the loveliest scenery along the route. Moor at Bingen at the end of the morning.

Concert, 2.45pm:

Rochuskapelle, Bingen-am-Rhein

Hildegard von Bingen:

A feather on the breath of God

Per Sonat Ensemble


The town of Bingen, at the southern entry to the spectacular Rhine Gorge, is now world-famous as the birthplace of Hildegard von Bingen, the 12th-century nun, mystical thinker, composer and saint. This concert, performed by the Per Sonat ensemble, will reveal that her music, though some of the earliest to have survived in the West, is of a beauty and serenity which transcends time – in her words, ‘a feather on the breath of God.’ The venue is the Chapel of St Rochus, an exceptionally lovely Gothic Revival pilgrimage church of the 1890s perched on a hill overlooking the Rhine.

Returning to the ship, sail during the late afternoon and evening through the most dramatically picturesque stretch of the river. See vine-clad hills with castles on many of the peaks, and charming little towns and villages at the water’s edge. Moor before midnight at Bonn.

Walking Party: some free time in Speyer.  Drive to Bingen for lunch before a walk in the vicinity of this afternoon’s concert venue. After the concert drive to Bonn where two nights are spent.

 

Day 5

Saturday 19 June

Bonn

Famously disparaged as a village by the diplomatic corps when it was capital of the Federal Republic, Bonn had in fact been a significant centre of culture while seat of the Elector Archbishops of Cologne in the early modern period. In the 18th century a second-rate tenor inclined to drink, named Johann van Beethoven, was employed at the archiepiscopal court. His son turned out to be a better musician.

The family home survives as one of the best of all composer museums with a remarkable collection of memorabilia. Adjacent is the Kammermusiksaal, a handsome modern recital hall where the morning concert takes place.

Concert, 11.00am:

Bonn, Beethoven Haus, Kammermusiksaal

Beethoven Piano Sonatas

Freddy Kempf


In Freddy Kempf’s piano recital we hear Beethoven, titanic tragedian and inspired comedian. It used to be claimed that he had no sense of humour: the last two movements of his Piano Sonata Op 2 No 3 are the perfect riposte to that. But then comes the thrilling drama of the Appassionata Sonata – turbulent, anguished, brilliant, one could say that the Romantic image of the piano virtuoso as tortured genius was born here. The transcendental Sonata in C minor Op.111, composed when he was completely deaf, was his last; it is a farewell to the piano.   

Lunch is provided on the ship as usual. Free time in Bonn perhaps to visit the Beethovenhaus museum, the Minster, built on the cusp between Romanesque and Gothic, or to visit the art museum or history museum in the new quarter to the south.

The early evening concert takes place in what was the chapel of the Electoral Palace, one of the few spaces in the vast 18th-century edifice which survived the War.

Concert, 5.30pm:

Bonn, Electoral Palace, Schlosskirche

Beethoven Symphonies

Taschenphilharmonie (Pocket Philharmonic Orchestra)


The Electoral Palace at Bonn was where the teenage Beethoven had his first professional post under an enlightened and encouraging employer. So it’s fitting that the palace chapel should be the venue for the work in which Beethoven made his debut in the form indelibly associated with his name, the symphony. His Symphony No 1 is followed by Symphony No 6 Pastoral. The fourteen first-class musicians of the Pocket Philharmonic perform as a chamber ensemble, bringing clarity and precision to the works and continuing a tradition that can be traced back to Beethoven himself.

Overnight in Bonn.

Walking Party: drive south for a walk in the hills around Bonn. Free afternoon before the early-evening concert. Final night in Bonn.

 

Day 6

Sunday 20 June 

Schloss Raesfeld

Sail from Bonn before dawn and sail along the Lower Rhine through the rest of the morning. There is a lecture and lunch, but otherwise your time is free until the afternoon.

Moor at Wesel and drive to the Schloss Schloss Raeseld, an impressive brick-built moated Wasserschloss (‘water castle’) dating to the 17th century. Situated in a park close to the Dutch border, part is now a hotel. Our concert takes place in the hall, the Rittersaal. It is not large, so the concert has to be repeated.

Concert, 3.15pm or 4.45pm:

Schloss Raesfeld

String Quartets: Haydn and Beethoven

Mandelring Quartet


Schloss Raesfeld offers the peace needed to explore such an inward looking masterpiece as Beethoven’s String Quartet Op 59 No 3, in which the composer reveals in music how he found the strength to triumph over adversity and growing deafness. Before that we hear the first surviving quartet by Haydn, the true father of the medium.

Return to the ship in the evening and sail overnight from Wesel to Amsterdam.

Walking Party: leave Bonn for Schloss Raesfeld for a walk in the surrounding forest before lunch and the early concert. Continue to Utrecht. First of two nights here. 


Day 7

Monday 21 June

Amsterdam

Around breakfast time the ship reaches Amsterdam, mooring at a quay near the site of the historic harbour on the River IJ.

Amsterdam is as distinctive as it is beautiful. It grew rapidly in the 16th and 17th centuries from a small and precarious inland port to become the greatest trading emporium in Europe. With its concentric canals and close-set red brick houses, soaring churches and picturesque alleys, the inner city has hardly changed since its heyday.

The day is free until the concert at 4.00pm. Coaches take those who want to the quarter where are gathered three of the finest art museums in the Netherlands – the Rijksmuseum, Van Gogh Museum and Stedelijk Museum of Modern Art. Nearby also is the Concertgebouw, venue for the concert. Coaches return you to the ship for lunch – again, if you want; you may wish to stay in and around the museums, or explore some of the old centre.

Opened in 1888, the Concertgebouw needs no introduction as one of the finest concert halls in the world, Our concert takes place in the smaller of the two spaces, the Recital Hall, which is particularly suitable for this afternoon’s programme because its design is based on the 18th-century concert hall built on this site.

Concert, 4.15pm:

Amsterdam, Concertgebouw

Dutch Crown Jewels

New Dutch Academy


In the 18th century, the Dutch court city of The Hague and the bustling trading centre of Amsterdam were glittering, cosmopolitan centres of international cultural exchange and inspired musical endeavour. This afternoon’s programme is an exploration of sparkling symphonic gems by composers working at the Court of Orange, including concertmaster Friedrich Schwindl and virtuoso cellist Francesco Zappa. From Amsterdam, we hear music by 'The Dutch Haydn', Joseph Schmitt. 

Overnight Amsterdam.

Walking Party: there is a morning walk in Dutch countryside. After lunch continue to Amsterdam. Guided tour of the Rijksmuseum before attending the afternoon concert. Final night in Utrecht.

 

Day 8

Tuesday 22 June

Amsterdam

Coaches leave the ship between 9.00 and 9.30am. 

Walking Party: Free morning in Utrecht. Afternoon Eurostar from Rotterdam to London St Pancras.

Image of Stephen Johnson

Stephen Johnson

Writer, broadcaster and composer Stephen Johnson is the author of books on Beethoven, Bruckner, Wagner and Mahler. For 14 years he presented BBC Radio 3’s Discovering Music. His orchestral work Behemoth Dances was premiered in 2016 by the Moscow State Symphony Orchestra, and his Clarinet Quintet Angel's Arc had its first performance in January 2019 His book about music and mental health, How Shostakovich Changed My Mind, was published in May 2018. His book about Mahler's Eighth Symphony, Symphony of a Thousand, is due to be published in 2020. Twitter: @BehemothMusic | Website: www.stephen-johnson.co.uk

Professor Annika Mombauer

Professor of Modern European History at the Open University. Her research interests are 19th- and 20th-century European history, in particular Imperial Germany and the origins of the First World War. She has published widely on German military planning and diplomacy and is a well-known contributor to the historiographical debate on the origins of WWI.

The festival package

Nine private concerts (seven for the Walking Party), and daily talks.

Accommodation on a first-class river cruiser for seven nights.

All meals, from dinner on the first day to breakfast on the last, with wine.

Coach travel for airport transfers and to concerts when not accessible on foot.

All tips, taxes and admission charges.

A book with full details of the programme, the places and the music.

The assistance of an experienced team of festival staff.

 

Festival flight options

Option 1

15 June: London Heathrow to Basel (BA 434) departing at 08.30 and arriving at 11.05. 22 June: Amsterdam to London St Pancras via Brussels (Thalys/Eurostar) departing at 09.15 and arriving at 14.05. 

Lunch is included in Basel on 15 June. This is followed by free time for independent exploration before the concert at 5.30pm.

The inbound rail journey is currently indirect. We expect several direct Eurostar trains from Amsterdam to be available by June 2021. Timetables are published six months ahead of departure and we will book a direct Eurostar at a similar time if possible.


Option 2

15 June: London Heathrow to Zurich (BA 712) departing at 09.35 and arriving at 12.30. 22 June: Amsterdam to London St Pancras (Eurostar, direct) departing at 13.46 and arriving at 16.57. There is time for independent exploration of Amsterdam before departing for London.

Lunch is included at a restaurant en route to Basel on 15 June.

Please note that each outbound flight is tied to a particular inbound train. You cannot mix flights/trains from different options. 


Connecting flights

It may be possible to arrange connecting flights with British Airways from Edinburgh, Manchester, Glasgow, Aberdeen or Belfast.


By rail

It is possible to reach Basel in time for the first concert, departing London St Pancras at 7.57am, changing in Paris and arriving in Basel at 3.26pm. Trains cannot usually be booked further in advance than six months before departure. Alternatively, you may wish to travel the day before and stay overnight in Basel. Please contact us if you would like us to book this for you.


No flights or rail

You can choose not to take any of our flight/rail options and to make your own arrangements for joining and leaving the ship. You are welcome to join our coach transfers.

Price reduction for ‘no flights/rail’: £200.


The walking party

15 June: fly at c. 2.30pm from London Heathrow to Basel. 22 June: Eurostar from Rottterdam to London St Pancras (direct), arriving at c. 5.00pm.

There is a price reduction of £200 should you decide to join and leave the group independently.

 

Accommodation and prices

The ship

The Amadeus Brilliant was fully renovated in 2020, and is one of the more comfortable river cruisers in Europe. The multinational crew is dedicated to the highest standards of service.

With a floor area of 15m2 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. There are eight suites (Mozart) measuring 22m2 with floor-to-ceiling windows and a mini-bar. 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

 

Haydn deck – lowest

Two sharing: £3,340 per person. Single occupancy: £3,940


Strauss deck – middle

Two sharing: £4,030 per person. Single occupancy: £4,760


Mozart deck – top

Two sharing: £4,490 per person. Single occupancy: £5,310


Suites – Mozart deck

Two sharing: £5,290 per person. Not available for single occupancy


No flights: if you choose not to take one of the flight/train options, there is a price reduction of £200 per person.
 


More about the concerts

Private events. These concerts are planned and administered by Martin Randall Travel. The audience consists exclusively of those who have booked the full festival package or walking tour.

Acoustics. This festival is more concerned with authenticity and ambience than acoustical perfection. While some of the venues have excellent acoustics, others have idiosyncrasies not found in modern concert halls.

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

Changes. Musicians fall ill, venues require restoration, airlines alter schedules: there are many unforeseeable 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 Rhine, 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 programme.

 

Fitness for the festival

Quite a lot of walking is necessary to reach some concert venues and to get around the towns we visit. Most of the concert venues do not have a lift. You need to be averagely fit, sure-footed and able to manage everyday walking and stair-climbing without difficulty. We ask that you take the simple fitness tests before booking.

A higher fitness level is required for the Walking Party. You will need to be in good physical condition, and used to country walking over hilly terrain. There is not always the opportunity to return to the hotel to freshen up before every concert or dinner.

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.

Are you fit enough to join the tour? 


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.'

'I can’t fault any aspect.'

'Thoroughly enjoyable. How lovely to glide 
down the Rhine listening to interesting lectures, with access to gorgeous towns and music – without unpacking.'

'Excellent variety and inspired choice of locations.'

'We enjoyed every minute. No detail left to chance. Good to find so many like-minded music-loving fellow travellers from all over the world.'

'Every performance a highlight.'