Sunday afternoon concerts have a decidedly different vibe from the high-octane Friday or Saturday performances. Relaxed, unhurried, maybe low-key, the flavour generally tends towards the genial side of things. You’d think, then, that this might be a chance to catch Ensemble Q slipping, but of course that wasn’t the case – they were, naturally, performing at their usual extraordinarily high level. This was also their debut performance as the new Company in Residence at QPAC, following a similar residency at the nearby Queensland Conservatorium, and it was a showcase of just why they continue to impress. This concert paired Beethoven’s classic Septet in E-flat Op. 20 with a new work by co-founder and clarinettist Paul Dean, written for the same slightly oddball line-up of instruments.

Ensemble Q

Septet, Ensemble Q. Photo © Darren Thomas

Beethoven’s piece combines the very different timbres of strings (violin, viola, cello and double bass) with winds and brass (clarinet, bassoon and horn), and sits in a similar mode to Mozart’s Serenades – like the aforementioned Sunday afternoon concerts, relaxed and unhurried. The players...