There was thoughtful, almost curatorial programming afoot in Takacs Quartet's concert.

String quartets by Haydn and Dvorak, a century apart, were the main offerings; works by men who never lost touch with the folk culture around them.

Lyrical exchanges between leader Edward Dusinberre and cellist Andras Fejer revealed just why Haydn's Op.76 no.5 was celebrated for its richly expressive Largo.

Yet, from the very first movement, marked Allegretto rather than Allegro, an unfailing lilt of phrase meant that Haydn's harmonic and other surprises were beautifully framed and captured.

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Little did we realise that its runaway finale would be echoed in the concert's encore, a zany Presto scherzando from the composer's Opus 20 no 4.

Dvorak's Opus 105 was also fired with folk spirit, most infectiously in its scherzo.

Yet the brooding chromaticism of its opening Adagio positively glowed and, in its closing Allegro, Brahmsian nudges added their own tang.

Webern's Langsamer Satz had no need of a string orchestra transcription to release emotions as powerful as those of Schoenberg's transfigured night.

Anthony Ritchie's Whakatipua proved readymade for the group, which lavished consummate care throughout.

Classical review

What: Takacs Quartet
Where: Auckland Town Hall
When: Saturday Reviewer: William Dart