No string quartet today plays Czech music with more idiomatic understanding than the Wihan. True to form, their Taunton programme features quartets that are in their bloodstream: two beautiful, less-known works by Dvorák, plus Smetana’s autobiographical From my life. Other highlights include Mendelssohn’s tragic late F-minor Quartet, a requiem for his sister Fanny, and one of the works from Beethoven’s revolutionary Razumovsky set. Saturday evening’s all-Schubert concert reminds us, too, that the Viennese composer was one of Dvorák’s idols, and a crucial influence on his chamber music.
Formed in 1985, the Wihan Quartet has developed an outstanding reputation for the interpretation of its native Czech heritage, and of the many classical, romantic and modern masterpieces of the string quartet repertoire.
The speaker, Richard Wigmore, is a writer, lecturer, and broadcaster for BBC Radio 3. He writes for Gramophone and others, and his books include Schubert: the Complete Song Texts, and the Faber Pocket Guide to Haydn.
Friday 29 November, 5.30pm
Talk at 5.00pm
Mozart, String Quartet No.1 in G, K.80
Mendelssohn, Quartet No.6 in F minor, Op.80
Dvořák, Quartet No.8 in E, Op.80
Saturday 30 November, 11.00am
Talk at 10.30am
Haydn, Quartet in G, Op.54, No.1
Mozart, Quartet No.14 in G, K.387 Spring
Beethoven, Quartet No.9 in C, Op.59, No.3
Saturday 30 November, 5.30pm
Talk at 5.00pm
Schubert, Quartettsatz, D703; Quartet No.13 in A minor, D804 Rosamunde; Quartet No.14 in D minor, D810 Death & the Maiden
Sunday 1 December, 11.00am
Talk at 10.30am
Dvořák, Quartet No.9 in D minor, Op.34 Smetana, Quartet No.1 in E minor, From My Life
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: wigmoresworld.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
'It was everything that we expected and hoped for. The commitment and professionalism of the Quartet was exemplary.'
'We thought the Wihan were first class.'
'Each concert was a learning experience with a heightened appreciation of the music. I thought the playing was delightful and so personal in the intimate atmosphere of the Music Room.'