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The Schubertiade - Music and mountains in the Vorarlberg

Amid the superb mountain scenery of the Vorarlberg, the Schubertiade is one of the most prestigious and enjoyable festivals in Europe.

Singers and players of the highest calibre perform including the Hagan Quartett, Konstantin Krimmel, Leif Ove Andsnees and Patrick Grahl.

Excursions to historic towns in the vicinity and an optional hill walk, but time also to relax among ravishing upland scenery.

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16 - 23 Jun 2024 £4,440 Book this tour

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Overview

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.

 

Day 1

Fly in the morning from London Heathrow to Zurich (British Airways). Drive through Switzerland and into Austria, arriving late afternoon at Reuthe in the lovely upland landscape of the Bregenzerwald. All six nights are spent in this very attractive village.


Day 2

Drive down to Feldkirch, a little town built at a narrowing of the valley of the River Ill. Historic buildings, arcaded streets and a network of alleys nestle beneath high limestone cliffs; a tour includes medieval defences, town hall and Gothic cathedral (altarpiece by Wolf Huber). Return to Reuthe for an afternoon lecture before driving to Schwarzenberg for an afternoon chamber concert with the Hagen Quartet: Beethoven, String Quartet in F, Op.135; Haydn, String Quartet in B flat, Op.76 No.4; Schubert, String Quartet in A minor, D804 ‘Rosamunde’. Followed by an evening Lieder recital with Konstantin Krimmel (baritone) and Daniel Heide (piano): Schubert: ‘Schwanengesang’, D957.


Day 3

Morning lecture before driving to Schwarzenberg for an afternoon recital with David Fray (piano): Schubert, ‘Six Moments Musicaux’ D780 and Sonata in G, D894. Followed by an evening Lieder recital with Patrick Grahl (tenor) and Malcom Martineau (piano): Schubert: ‘Winterreise’, D911.


Day 4

Optional walk on the Baumgartner Höhe:  4km (max 2½ hours), altitude gain 200m, a moderate walk with inclines and terrific views and starting and ending with a funicular ride. Return to Reuthe to refresh before driving to Schwarzenberg for an evening Lieder recital with Christiane Karg (soprano) and Gerold Huber (piano): Schumann, ‘Fünf Lieder nach Gedichten der Königin Maria Stuart’, Op.135; ‘Frauenliebe und Leben’, Op.42. 


Day 5

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 Reuthe in the early afternoon for a lecture before driving to Schwarzenberg. Evening piano recital with Leif Ove Andsnes (piano) and Bertand Chamayou (piano): Schubert, Rondo in A for piano four hands, D951 ‘Grand Rondeau’; Kurtág, selection from ‘Játékok’; Schubert, Allegro in A minor for piano four hands, D947 ‘Lebenstürme’, and Fugue in E minor for piano four hands, D952; Schubert, Fantasia in F minor for piano four hands, D940.


Day 6

Optional excursion with a guided tour in the small town of Hohenhems, original location of the Schubertiade. Some free time here before returning to Reuthe for an afternoon lecture. Drive to Schwarzenberg for an afternoon recital with Katharina Konradi (soprano) and Joseph Middleton (piano): Lieder by Schumann, Schubert, Felix Mendelssohn and Fanny Mendelssohn-Hensel. Followed by an evening recital with Paul Lewis (piano): Schubert: Sonata in C minor, D958; Sonata in A, D 959; Sonata in B flat, D960.  


Day 7

Today is free for independent exploration; perhaps take advantage of the hotel spa facilities. Drive to Schwarzenberg for an evening recital with Matthias Goerne (baritone) and Leif Ove Andsnes (piano): selected Lieder by Schubert.


Day 8

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 the woods outside the city. Fly from Zurich, arriving at London Heathrow at 7.15pm.

Image of Michael Downes

Dr Michael Downes

Director of Music at the University of St Andrews, musical director of St Andrews Chorus, Scotland’s largest choral society, and founding artistic director of Byre Opera. He has lectured for most of the UK’s leading opera companies and writes programme notes for Wigmore Hall and Aldeburgh Music. Publications include books written with and about contemporary British composer Jonathan Harvey, and a collaboration with Nike Wagner, great-granddaughter of Richard; he is currently working on a new biography of Elgar for Oxford University Press.

Price, per person

Two sharing: £4,440 or £4,240 without flights. Single occupancy: £4,990 or £4,790 without flights.


Included

Air travel (Euro Traveller) on British Airways flights (Airbus A320); 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.


Music

First category tickets to 9 performances are included. 


Accommodation

Gesundhotel Bad Reuthe, Reuthe: a 4-star hotel furnished in a modern alpine style. Spa facilities, including both an indoor and outdoor swimming pool. Single rooms are doubles for sole use.


How strenuous?

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.

Are you fit enough to join the tour?


Group size

Between 10 and 22 participants.


Travel advice

Before booking, please refer to the FCDO website to ensure you are happy with the travel advice for the destination(s) you are visiting.


Combine with

In June 2024: 

Lucca & vicinity3–9 June

Cyprus: stepping stone of history3–11 June

Gastronomic Veneto, 5–12 June

Gastronomic Asturias & Cantabria7–15 June

Medieval Burgundy, 8–15 June

Medieval West Midlands24–28 June

Vienna's Masterpieces24–29 June

Gardens in the Highlands24 June–2 July

The Plantagenet Empire27 June–3 July

Trasimeno Music Festival, 27 June–4 July

Finland: Aalto & Others27 June–5 July

West Cork Chamber Music Festival30 June-4 July 

'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.'