The combination of music-making of the highest quality with a pre-Alpine mountain setting is a heady mix. Devotees of the Schubertiade return year after year; addiction is a distinct possibility. Add guided walks and visits in the surrounding area and top up with relaxation among ravishing upland scenery and this begins to sound like the recipe for the perfect holiday for music lovers.
It takes place in the Vorarlberg, the westernmost province of Austria, with all the concerts in the village of Schwarzenberg, described by the philosopher Johann Gottfried Herder as ‘the prettiest village in Europe’. Our tour is based in the neighbouring village of Mellau, seven miles away.
Fly at c. 9.30am from London Heathrow to Zurich (British Airways). Drive through Switzerland and into Austria, arriving late afternoon at Mellau in the lovely upland landscape of the Bregenzerwald. All six nights are spent in this very attractive village.
Optional excursion with a guided tour in the small town of Hohenhems, original location of the Schubertiade. Some free time here before returning to Mellau for an afternoon lecture. Drive to Schwarzenberg for an afternoon concert with the Elias String Quartet, Alois Posch (double bass), Michael Collins (clarinet), Alec Frank-Gemmill (horn) and Robin O’Neill (bassoon): Mendelssohn: String Quartet in A minor, Op. 13 and Schubert: Octet in F, D 803. Dinner in Schwarzenberg before an evening Lieder recital with Patrick Grahl (tenor) and Daniel Heide (piano): Schubert, Die schöne Müllerin.
Optional hill walking on the Baumgartner Höhe, 4km, 2½ hours, altitude gain 200m, a moderate walk with inclines and terrific views and starting and ending with a funicular ride. Return to Mellau before driving to Schwarzenberg for an afternoon Lieder recital with Brenda Rae (soprano), Sophie Rennert (mezzo-soprano), Mauro Peter (tenor), David Steffens (bass) and Helmut Deutsch (piano): selected quartets and duets by Schubert. Dinner in Schwarzenberg before an evening piano recital with Elisabeth Leonskaja: Schubert: Sonata in A, D 664; Sonata in C, D 840 ‘Reliquie’; Fantasy in C, D 605A ‘Grazer Fantasie’; Fantasy in C, D 760 ‘Wandererfantasie’.
Free morning in Mellau before an afternoon lecture. Drive to Schwarzenberg for an afternoon Lieder recital with Konstantin Krimmel (baritone) and Ammiel Bushakevitz (piano): selected Lieder by Schubert. Evening concert with the Hagen Quartett and Christian Poltéra (violoncello): Shostakovich: String Quartet in E flat minor, Op. 144 and Schubert: String Quintet in C, D 956.
Morning excursion to Bregenz, the regional capital located beside Lake Constance. Begin in the upper town, the picturesque older part, and walk down to the lake and visit the local history museum. Return to Mellau in the early afternoon for a lecture before driving to Schwarzenberg. Afternoon chamber concert with the String Quartet of the Staatskapelle Berlin and Elisabeth Leonskaja: Schubert: String Quartet in A minor, D 804 ‘Rosamunde’ and Brahms: Piano Quartet in F minor, Op. 34. Dinner in Schwarzenberg before an evening Lieder recital with Ian Bostridge (tenor) and Julius Drake (piano): selected Lieder by Schubert.
Free morning in Mellau before an afternoon lecture. Drive to Schwarzenberg for an afternoon piano recital with Adam Laloum: Schubert: Sonata in C minor, D 958; Sonata in A, D 959; Sonata in B flat, D 960. Dinner in Schwarzenberg before an evening Lieder recital with Konstantin Krimmel (baritone) and Daniel Heide (piano): Schubert, ‘Winterreise’.
Homeward journey. Stop at Winterthur to see the Old Master and Impressionist paintings of the Oskar Reinhart Collection, beautifully displayed in the collector’s home in woods outside the city. Fly from Zurich, arriving at London Heathrow c. 5.00pm.
Dr Katy Hamilton
Writer and broadcaster, she has provided talks for, amongst others, Wigmore Hall, BBC Proms and the Oxford Lieder Festival. A frequent contributor to BBC Radio 3, Katy’s specialism is the music of the 19th and early 20th centuries, and she is the editor of Brahms in the Home and Concert Hall (2014) and Brahms in Context (2019). Katy has taught at the Royal College of Music, City Lit, and the Universities of Nottingham and Middlesex.
Price, per person
Two sharing: £3,780 or £3,560 without flights. Single occupancy: £3,990 or £3,770 without flights.
Air travel (Euro Traveller) on British Airways flights (Airbus A320 andA319); private coach throughout; accommodation as described below; breakfasts, 5 dinners with wine; all admissions; all tips for restaurant staff, drivers, guides; all taxes; the services of the lecturer.
Tickets to 10 performances are included. Top category for all performances except the evening piano recital on Day 3, the evening concert on Day 4 and the afternoon chamber concert on Day 5. Tickets for these three performances are second category.
Hotel Sonne, Mellau: a 4-star hotel, modern and functional with a pleasant atmosphere and very helpful staff. All rooms are doubles. There is a swimming pool and restaurant. Single rooms are doubles for sole use.
There is some walking through towns and over uneven ground. The optional walk is rated moderate and participants wishing to take part should bring appropriate walking footwear. Average distance by coach per day: 55 miles.
Between 10 and 22 participants.
Before booking, please refer to the FCDO website to ensure you are happy with the travel advice for the destination(s) you are visiting.
'The lecturer is blessed with the magical blend of musical knowledge and sociability.'
'The music was of the very highest quality – excellent seats in the concert hall.'
'A truly wonderful holiday… I think it was worth every penny!'
'We had a thoroughly enjoyable experience, which managed to successfully combine significant musical and intellectual stimulation with a relaxing and very pleasurable holiday in a lovely location.'