The Carducci Quartet are one of the world’s finest ensembles – and their most recent recital, at St Alfege’s, showed why. The foursome opened with Shostakovich’s String Quartet No8 in C Minor which the great Russian, who had already spent decades in the shadow of murderous Stalinist purges, wrote after visiting the charred ruins of Dresden at the close of the Second World War. From the opening phrases, played in a rising sequence by cello, viola and two violins, the work miraculously captures the horror of such carnage – yet does it with startling and unsettling beauty. The quartet – violinists Matthew Denton and Michelle Fleming, violist Eoin Schmidt-Martin and cellist Emma Denton – encapsulated this paradox perfectly, provoking an emotional response that was at once agonising and ecstatic. They finished their recital with a similarly emotion-rich piece composed a century earlier – Felix Mendelssohn’s moving String Quartet No6 in F minor. It was as fine a recital as I have ever heard at St Alfege’s and a reminder of how fortunate we are in Greenwich to be the home of Trinity Laban, where the Carducci Quartet are currently an ensemble-in-residence.