If anyone proves the old adage that opposites attract it has to be the Ensō Quartet. The American foursome have roots spreading from New Zealand to Japan, from the Philippines to Korea, and so it’s perhaps appropriate that they chose the Zen word representing the endless circle for their moniker. Equally inclusive is this, the programme for their debut Australian tour. It takes in two centuries from 1809 to the present day and ranges from Germany (Beethoven), through Spain (Turina), Argentina (Ginastera), and all the way Down Under with a MVA commission from Brenton Broadstock.

The Broadstock started proceedings, a surprise birthday gift from a loving husband for Marianne, a woman whose parents brought her to Australia from Hungary. The work, Safe Haven, duly uses the Hungarian nursery song Boci Boci Tarka(a bit like Baa Baa Black Sheep, but about a kind of Eastern European cow) at various points to suggest a child’s journey from a place of danger to one of safety. It’s an accessible work in three sections employing an acerbic tonality and a wide range of string effects. As such, it provided the Ensōs with an ideal vehicle to display their boldness of attack, impeccable tone,...