This string quartet ,Mandhira de Saram (violin 1), Richard Jones (viola), Patrick Dawkins (violin 2) and Valerie Welbanks (cello), demonstrated their artistry and teamwork in a variety of relatively modern and challenging works. Alfred Schnittke’s string quartet no 3 had rapid changes of mood and veered between harmony and dissonance. It was followed by Witold Lutoslawski’s string quartet in which the parts for the four musicians do not have to synchronise. The effect is sometimes chaotic and sometimes energising.
The second part brought a more familiar work. This was the second movement of Samuel Barber’s string quartet in B minor, opus 2, also known as the Adagio for Strings, melodious and solemn.
Then came a world premiere of Tim Benjamin’s String Quartet no 3. This varied in mood between tense and serene, with eventually a feeling of hopefulness and a strong ending.
The audience approved, and demanded an encore, which was a lovely celebratory piece by a Malian composer, foregrounding the cello.