A welcoming, well-appointed hotel in a pleasant English market town – could there be a better location for three days of glorious chamber music-making? This year the instrumental line-up broadens to include not just string trios and piano quartets but music featuring recorder and horn, from Handel and Bach to Schumann, Brahms and Strauss. It is a musical menu as rich and enticing as that offered by the hotel’s excellent kitchen!
Benjamin Baker. On the recommendation of violinist Nigel Kennedy, he moved to the UK from New Zealand to take up a scholarship at the Menuhin School. A top prize-winner in international competitions, he has developed an international career as a soloist and chamber musician.
Timothy Ridout. The only British violist to have won first prize at the Lionel Tertis International Viola Competition in 2016. In 2019 he is set to appear as a soloist with the Hamburg Symphony, Philharmonia, Orchestre de Lille, Camerata Salzburg and Chamber Orchestra of Europe.
Philip Higham. The first British cellist to win first prize at the Leipzig International Bach Competition, he is currently principal of the Scottish Chamber Orchestra.
Giuseppe Guarrera won second Prize and five other awards at the Montreal Competition in 2017. He went on to win a Tabor Foundation Award at the Verbier Festival Academy and a prestigious Klavier Ruhr Festival scholarship.
Tabea Debus. Born in Germany, Tabea moved to the UK to study at the Royal Academy of Music where she won Principal’s Prize, among numerous other awards.
Benjamin Goldscheider reached the final of the 2016 BBC Young Musician Competition. He is currently completing his studies at the Barenboim-Said Academy with Radok Baborá and made his BBC Proms debut in 2018.
Friday 24 January, 5.30pm
Benjamin Baker (violin), Philip Higham (cello) & Giuseppe Guarrera (piano)
Talk at 4.00pm
Schubert, String Trio in B flat, D471 (fragment)
Beethoven, String Trio in G, Op.9 No.1
Mozart, Piano Quartet No.2 in E flat, K.493
Saturday 25 January, 11.00am
Tabea Debus (recorder) & Philip Higham (cello)
Talk at 10.30am
Telemann, Solo Flute Fantasias No.1 & No.7
Telemann, Sonata in C from Der getreue music-meister
Telemann, Flute Sonata in B flat
Dani Howard, Two-and-a-Half Minutes to Midnight
J.S. Bach, Cello Suite No.2 in D minor
J.S. Bach, Invention No.7 in E minor
J.S. Bach, excerpts from Flute Sonatas in E minor and E
Handel, Sorge nel petto from Rinaldo
Handel, Flute Sonata in D
Arne Gieshoff, Entr’acte.
Saturday 25 January, 5.30pm
Benjamin Baker (violin), Timothy Ridout (viola), Philip Higham (cello), Giuseppe Guarrera (piano) & Benjamin Goldscheider (horn)
Talk at 4.00pm
Schumann, Adagio & Allegro in A flat for Horn & Piano, Op.70
Brahms, Horn Trio in E flat, Op.40
Schumann, Piano Quartet in E flat, Op.47
Sunday 26 January, 11.00am
Benjamin Baker (violin), Timothy Ridout (viola) & Giuseppe Guarrera (piano)
Talk at 10.30am
Schumann, Märchenbilder Op.113
Schumann, Dichterliebe, piano & viola, Op.48
Strauss, Violin Sonata in E flat, Op.18
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
Price – per person
Two sharing: standard double or twin £810; Garden Room £990. Single occupancy: single bedded room £810 (doubles for sole use may be available at a later stage for a higher price).
Four concerts and pre-concert talks, accommodation for two nights at The Castle Hotel, breakfasts, two afternoon teas, two dinners, interval drinks, programme, tips for hotel staff.
The Castle Hotel, Taunton: 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. There is a lift to all floors but please let us know if you require a bedroom without step access, or if you use a wheelchair.
These weekends are very leisurely affairs – everything takes place within the confines of the hotel. However please read the paragraph above if you use a wheelchair or have difficulties with negotiating stairs.
Maximum 76 resident participants.
Individual concert tickets
Available to people living within 30 miles of Taunton. £20 mornings, £25 evenings.Interval drinks and a programme are also included.
Individual concert tickets are handled by the hotel. Please call 01823 272 671 or visit www.the-castle-hotel.com
'A remarkably talented group of young musicians performed with flair and commitment a varied and pleasingly unhackneyed programme of works.'
'We thought that showcasing of young, emerging and talented musicians was an excellent idea. Such groups and soloists bring a freshness and enthusiasm to their performance which was in evidence over the weekend. The programme was varied and interesting, and it was a delight to hear the performers interviewed, and meet them at dinner.'
'Stephen Johnson was an excellent speaker – he gave very good, clear explanations of the music and had a nice, sensitive approach to his interviews with the musicians.'