THE stage and organ pipes softly highlighted in an otherwise darkened Leeds Town Hall set the tone for Manchester Collective's programme of "Night Music". A pairing of string quartets by Edmund Finnis and Henryk Górecki created a velvety, mysterious soundworld.

Finnis who is in his early thirties, has been widely acclaimed for the iridescent quality of his music. String Quartet No 1 'Aloysius' was commissioned for the 2019 Aldeburgh Festival. The expressive musings of the five short movements written for two violins, viola and cello are deeply affecting. They made a perfect foil for Górecki's Quartet No 2 "Quasi una fantasia" - Like a fantasy.

This work dates from 1991 and its duration of around 35 minutes points to the scale of a composition that probes the depths of sorrow and soars to heights of elation. The weight of Górecki's symphonies - especially No 3, the "Symphony of Sorrowful Song" is a discernible influence.

The cellist's dark, plodding E natural for the first five minutes of String Quartet No 2 is answered by the weeping effect of the viola's recurring phrase. A lovely arioso is followed by a vigorous finale suffused with traditional Polish folk tunes. Manchester Collective's demonstrative style of playing is enough to inspire repeated listening to this extraordinary music.

Violinists Rakhi Singh and Caroline Pether, violist Ruth Gibson and cellist Nicholas Trygstad bathed rich tone colours in the Town Hall's spacious acoustic.

Geoffrey Mogridge