All Schumann Programme

Friday 28 FEBRUARY – Monday 2 MARCH

What a striking conjunction awaits us as spring begins! Those on our Schumann study day this summer felt they had re-discovered this great composer as our study reached far beyond his well-known piano concerto and Rhenish Symphony. We found a composer who in his chamber works reaches depths of complex feeling that we thought had been reserved for his close friends Chopin and Brahms. Now an opportunity has arisen to hear Schumann in the hands of young masters of their art. Indeed, the exquisitely sensitive pianist Noam Greenberg and his colleagues have dedicated the whole of this pre-spring’s Askham Music Festival to this glorious composer. We will be so fortunate to hear Schumann celebrated in this perfect Romantic setting.

Concerts are no longer held in Askham church, as they have been for our previous three visits, but in the rather more salubrious and cosier environment of the barn at Askham. Nicholas introduces us to the romantic and eclectic cross-disciplinary context for Schumann’s work and life, and we visit two magnificent properties in the Lakes which exemplify Eclecticism at its most eccentric and English best: ancient Hutton-in-the-Forest, one of Simon Jenkins’ 100 best houses, just outside Penrith, the home of Lord and Lady Inglewood, and magnificent Victorian Holker Hall, the Lakeland home of the Cavendishes, relatives of the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire of Chatsworth. Meanwhile The Hall, with its welcoming log fires, library- armchairs and reading nooks- grand yet comfortable bedrooms, and wonderful food. A warm reception by Nico the house manager and sommelier, and, of course, by the Lowthers, themselves, await us. Please come again to the festival or give yourself a treat!

With fifteen beautiful bedrooms, Askham Hall is one of the of the most comfortable of conversions of former country homes. Askham Hall was once a fortified 14c pele tower protecting England from invasion by the Scots. In the 16c it was converted into a grand Elizabethan mansion by Thomas Sandford before being bought by the Lowther family 200 years ago. It then became home to Anthony Lowther, a descendant of the 5th Earl of Lonsdale, Hugh Lowther, the “Yellow Earl”, and was passed down the family.

The present owner’s grandfather moved into the Hall after moving out of Lowther Castle next door. The Hall is now owned by Charles Lowther and his mother, Caroline, Countess of Lonsdale, who until recently kept Askham Hall as the family home. The brave plan to open the Hall to others as a commercial venture seems to be the successful product of a close-knit family: Countess of Lonsdale, Charles and his wife, Juno, and his sister, Marie-Louisa Raeburn. Together they sustain a homelike, unpretentious country house hotel, a brilliant staff, and a very fine kitchen.

£1395 members, £1445 non-members, £130 single room supplement, deposit £350, includes three nights accommodation and all tuition: full breakfast, coffees, all lunches in the Hotel, and all dinners including wine; all three concerts, all lectures and private visit arrangements, and all taxi travel during the tour (please note that this cost excludes train tickets to and from Penrith) (with regrets limited to 10 participants )