S. Bach, William Barton and the Brodsky Quartet. All three begin with a ‘B’ but they are hardly B-players. Sunday night’s concert was a vindication of the musicians’ talent, and a historic occasion. It was the first time Barton – the multitalented First Nations didgeridoo player, vocalist and composer – and the British string quartet had performed together, and the belated world première of a powerful work by Andrew Ford.

The Brodsky Quartet and William Barton, Canberra International Music Festival. Photo © Peter Hislop

The Brodskys mark their 50th anniversary this year – two of the original musicians are still with the group – and their playing was as polished and impeccable as one would expect. Barton is an astonishing performer; playing the didgeridoo, his breath control is breathtaking.

The Brodskys began, beguilingly, with Bach: his Violin Sonata No. 1 in G minor, BWV 1001 (1720), originally a solo piece, arranged for the quartet by the Brodskys’ violinist, Paul Cassidy. Bach would have delighted in the ingenious counterpoint, his original line multiplied by four. Cerebral, dignified...