Lammermuir Festival > News > Have Beethoven, Will Travel

Have Beethoven, Will Travel - Lammermuir Festival

I can’t wait to follow the Navarra Quartet on our Musical Journey. The warm vitality and imagination of their playing at last year’s festival captured people’s hearts and it’s great that they’re able to be with us again. Last year’s Mozart journey, from Garvald to Prestonkirk via Stenton, took place on a lovely sunny East Lothian day, and a few intrepid travellers brought their walking boots and some sandwiches to do it on foot. This year we’re much nearer the sea, starting at Dirleton’s idyllically situated church, stopping off in the afternoon at Whitekirk, itself a place of pilgrimage since the middle ages, and ending in North Berwick. In the course of the day (Saturday, September 24) we visit the three ages of Beethoven (as well as hearing some wonderful pieces from the end of Benjamin Britten’s life), finishing at St Andrew Blackadder Church with his late Opus 132 String Quartet. The great central slow movement is the one that Beethoven famously entitled “Heiliger Dankgesang” (Holy Song of Thanksgiving) in gratitude for his recovery from an illness that he had thought would be terminal. People often think of Beethoven first and foremost as a heroic composer whose music embodies man’s perpetual struggle against adversity. But just as important is his profound spirituality, and this deeply moving, exalted music is one of his finest achievements:

Hugh Macdonald