Formed in 1975, the ensemble presents music that is “dark and depressing, glorious and wonderful”.

Cellist  András Fejer is officially on holiday when we speak, but still brimming with good humour from the Takács Quartet’s Australian tour the previous month.

“I loved it,” he enthuses.  “There’s such care and affection and kindness and energy.  We just keep grinning like little kids.”

With the last tour still so fresh, and the next firmly on the Quartet’s radar, we can dispense with the formalities of an introduction, and concentrate on the question of repertoire. The Quartet has an Australian Bartók cycle behind it; on its next tour, two quartets by Benjamin Britten are on the programme. To Fejer, this is a fair exchange with Edward Dusinberre, the quartet’s first violin and only British member.

“Ed has been an extremely good sport, learning all the Bartók quartets 17 years ago. So we feel it’s long overdue that we should learn to play all the Britten quartets,” he says.

A Britten cycle in the UK will precede the Takács Quartet’s next Australian tour, so that when they play the first and third quartets for Musica Viva, they will bring the context and experience of a complete overview...