The Musica Viva Festival’s fourth concert, named Essence —and rightly so — was like a four-course degustation with two packed mains. It was an evening bursting with colours and playful sensations and by the end, left the mouth hanging open for more.

Goldner String Quartet. Photo supplied

As if prophesying the density of the night ahead the two ladies behind me exclaimed at the start “I love Julian’s socks!” Indeed, Julian Smiles, the cellist of the Goldner String Quartet was clad in black, with coloured, vertically striped socks. And so the entrée: a one bite taster packed with an array of colours, textures and richness, yet all the while retaining the light-heartedness of a Mozart work. The Flute Quartet in D Major was a perfect precursor to the rest of the night, and an excellent synthesis of wind and strings between Adam Walker and the Goldner String Quartet. All three movements saw the flute soar above the quartet with runs that utilised the full length of its register whilst the quartet provided a warmly balanced accompaniment throughout, which was particularly well rounded in the lower registers. A homogenous pleasantry was created...