French early music quartet Nevermind takes its name from the landmark 90s grunge album by Nirvana, which featured the hit Smells Like Teen Spirit. “We were thinking that for our first album we would have a photo of the four of us in a swimming pool,” flute player Anna Besson joked in an interview, riffing on the album’s iconic cover art. It’s an apt moniker for an ensemble – formed when the musicians were students at the Paris Conservatoire – that unites impeccable HIP credentials with a relaxed, hipster aesthetic. In Sydney on their first national tour for Musica Viva Australia, the group certainly didn’t disappoint, delivering stylish, refined performances of music by Marais, Couperin and Telemann – as well as lesser known composers Quentin and Guillemain – with easy panache and formidable technique.

NevermindNevermind. Photo © Keith Saunders

The musicians whet the audience’s appetite with four movements from the fourth suite in Marin Marais’ 1692 Pièces en trio, showing off a polished, complex sound, limned at the upper end by the sweetness of Besson’s baroque flute and the darker, penetrating sound of Louis Creac’h’s violin. Lean viola da gamba lines from...