The bright, languidly elegant first movement to Mozart’s String Quartet No 17 opened Songs from the Bush, Omega Ensemble’s latest offering in the Sydney Opera House Utzon Room. The quartet is nicknamed ‘The Hunt’ (not by Mozart), but it feels more like a stroll in the forest.

The Omega ensemble’s strings – Emma Jardine and Vivien Jeffery on violin, Neil Thompson on viola and Paul Stender on cello – brought a vibrant fullness to their playing, passing trilling figures from one to another. The ensemble gave plenty of kick to the accents in the Menuettoand tripped along merrily in the delicate Trio, while the Adagiohad more gravity, Stender’s cello sonorous in the high register and earthy in the low, Emma Jardine’s violin singing out the impassioned moments. The close quarters and tricky acoustic of the Utzon Room make softer playing challenging, but some quieter moments would have allowed the crescendos to pop a bit more. The lively Allegro assaitook a few moments to settle rhythmically, but once it got going it motored along to a sunny conclusion.

Artistic Director and clarinettist David Rowden joined the quartet for the first of two Australian works on the programme, the world premiere of...

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