★★★★☆ Eclectic musical mix bodes well for ASQ’s latest iteration.

City Recital Hall, Angel Place, Sydney
March 1, 2016

It’s fair to say that the Australian String Quartet has had its ups and downs in recent years, but after a string of special guest stand-ins last year, they’re back with a new line-up and this first concert of their 2016 season was an exciting taster of things to come. The programme was made up of works old (Beethoven and Schumann) and new (Hindson and Adams) in an evening that was appropriately all about fresh beginnings.

Barring the Beethoven, which got off to a slightly awkward start, the sound of the ASQ’s latest foursome was very impressive, matched by a keenness to communicate and looks of evident pleasure passing back and forth among the ensemble. Joining regulars Stephen King on viola and Sharon Draper on cello are the impressive Dale Barltrop and Francesca Hiew on violin, both of whom are first-rate, experienced players with much to offer, both in solo lines (Barltrop with a winning silver sheen, Hiew with an attractively warm, golden glow) and as part of the blend.

Beethoven’s Sixth Quartet (the last of his first set of six) is the...