In the first half they presented the delightful Boccherini Quartet Op. 2 No. 6 followed by the only quartet Verdi wrote, another lovely piece, almost like a film score in parts but very definitely not just a reworking of operatic themes. It was playful, light and elegant.
The second half was a lot more serious, starting with Puccini's single movement Crisantemi (Chrysanthemums, in Italy traditionally associated with mourning) a slow memoriam followed by Respighi's String Quartet No 3 where playfulness interweaves with much deeper themes.
It was a tremendous concert showing that Italian music doesn't have to take a back seat to the heavyweights of Germany and Austria, a point emphasised by the lollipop, a piece of froth from some Salzburg born dilettante.