The Goldners crossed the world from Sydney to Portsmouth in celebration of the two cities’ historical links... to play to fewer than 30 people.
But in one of the Guildhall’s smaller spaces, the musicians shrugged off any disappointment, playing a formidable programme of English and Australian music with equally formidable virtuosity and style.
Exile, in which Ross Edwards took his inspiration from the First Fleet of convicts who sailed from Portsmouth in 1787, was powerfully evocative not only of the melancholy mood but of the beating sun.
In contrast, the complexities of fellow-Australian Carl Vine’s Quartet No 3 inspired extraordinary technical wizardry.
Of the English works, most interesting was Elizabeth Maconchy’s String Quartet No 13. Again the playing had intensity to match its virtuosity – as in Britten’s first quartet.