The Chiaroscuro Quartet return to Stamford after Alina Ibragimova’s triumphs in last year’s Proms playing all of Bach’s Sonatas and Partitas for solo violin in two televised concerts in the Albert Hall. The Chiaroscuro is now established as the foremost quartet playing on gut-string instruments in Europe. Gramophone magazine dubbed them, “a trailblazer for the authentic performance of High Classical chamber music”, and the sound they produce and the panache with which they perform is acclaimed by audiences and critics everywhere. In this concert they will be playing Haydn’s Op. 76, No. 1, the first in his extraordinary last full set of quartets. As Walter Cobbett wrote, if Haydn had not written any other string quartets, “this set alone would have served to immortalise his name”. Beethoven’s Op. 131 is similarly monumental: after hearing it, Schubert said, “After this, what is left to write?”, and Schumann remarked that Opp. 131 and 127, “stand … on the extreme boundary of all that has hitherto been attained by human art and imagination”. The quartet by Franz Berwald (1796 – 1868) is less well known: it a romantic piece with a muscular first movement, a turbulent and yearning second, a lovely adagio, a diabolic scherzo and a lilting finale.