Fours Galore!
An exploration of chamber music for four musicians.
November 30th - December 5th  2014


The 19th century writer Charles Burney defined the term chamber music as music not intended ‘for the church, theatre or a public concert room’. This suggests music of an intimate nature to be enjoyed in private by connoisseurs but, in our own day, chamber music is more frequently heard in large concert halls rather than the private rooms of rich aristocrats. It was often written for amateurs to play for their own enjoyment and it still fulfills this function in today’s busy world.

The term ‘chamber music’ has come to imply music for a solo performer, or for two, three or four individual musicians - even as many as thirteen.  But throughout the history of chamber music more works have been written for four players than any other combination and the string quartet is widely regarded as the backbone of the repertoire, allowing composers to create rich textures covering a wide pitch range and  gives opportunities for individual displays whilst permitting intimate musical exchanges between all four players. Alongside string quartets there are numerous other combinations of four (and nor does the medium exclude singers).

On this holiday we shall explore the rich diversity of works written for four performers; we shall look at the structure of individual works and the social context leading to their composition. Although the modern concept of chamber music may be said to date from the time of Haydn, we shall go further back in time to explore the consort repertory of 16th and 17th century England. We will also move forward in time to study a wide range of works rom the post-Haydn era, including works of our own time. We shall go beyond the string quartet to look at other possible combinations of four performers. There are indeed ‘fours galore’!

The holiday will culminate with a string quartet recital given by young players on the brink of their professional careers. They will present a varied programme, including 18th, 19th and 20th century works.


Clive Walkley (M.Phil.B.Mus.G.T.C.L.)  studied at Trinity College of Music and London University. He spent over thirty years of his professional life working in Teacher Education in Ambleside, and latterly before retirement as a part-time Lecturer in Music and Music Education at Lancaster University.

He lives in Kendal where he is a church organist, a cellist and the conductor of the well-known South Cumbrian chamber choir, The Pro Nobis Singers. His interests include composition, editing and researching early music. His publications include a booklet of ‘Warm-Up’ Rounds, numerous short choral pieces and carols (animus music), and editions of the music of the 16th-century Spanish church composer, Juan Esquivel (Mapa Mundi). In 2010 he finally completed a book on the life and work of this composer.




Prices are per person for the 5 nights and include full Cumbrian breakfast, morning coffee, 3-course dinner and VAT @ 20%.
Non-participating partners are welcome, and there is a reduction of £50 on the above prices for them. 
deposit of £150 per person is required for the holidays, which can be made by cheque or credit card. This is non-refundable unless the room is subsequently relet; cancellation insurance is available.    

Book Online

Arrival Date
Promotional Code
Contact Rothay Manor Special Offers Special Offer Sign-Up