Four projects, two couples, one ensemble – it’s a full-time juggling job for a quartet of Australia’s busiest musicians.

The brief seemed broad enough. You could write about their upcoming concerts at the Sydney Conservatorium. Or you could talk about their ABC documentary on the Peter Sculthorpe string quartets. Oh, and there’s this “project” where they tour to all six of Sydney’s sister cities over the next year or so. And don’t forget the new recordings coming out on Hyperion…and the Australian Festival of Chamber Music in July.

Keeping up with the Goldner String Quartet, it seems, would keep a full time journalist occupied for most of the working week. But perhaps what is most extraordinary about the punishing schedule embraced by Australia’s busiest string quartet is that the four players are in fact two married couples with a child apiece. There goes the home life you might assume.

First stop violinist Dimity Hall, and the wife of cellist Julian Smiles. They’re in the middle of moving house it turns out, an activity that one assumes must be sandwiched between this rehearsal and the next.  She seems calm enough under the circumstances and doesn’t cavil at my naïve opener: despite...