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In chamber music, one note can unlock a world. For Bedrich Smetana, that one note was the sound of his own impending deafness, the final tragedy in a life of dizzying joys and desperate sorrows. Somehow, he put it all into one of the liveliest, loveliest and most heart-breaking string quartets ever written – practically an opera for four players.

Mozart sets up a wonderful surprise in the very first minute of his Dissonance quartet (the clue’s in the title) – and then the Coull share the joy of rediscovery in Michael Tippett’s vibrant wartime Second Quartet: music that manages to sing, dance and sigh at the same time!

Mozart Quartet in C K465 The Dissonance
Tippett Quartet No.2 in F sharp
Smetana Quartet No.1 in E minor From My Life