Weinberg’s stunning six-movement Sixth Quartet dating from 1946 had the distinction of immediately being banned in Stalin’s postwar clampdown on the cultural sector. It was eventually given its first performance by tonight’s performers in Manchester in 2007. This is one of Weinberg’s most accessible quartets and contrariwise one of the most difficult to comprehend, the music ranging from explosive outbursts to almost total stasis. His Seventh Quartet follows after a gap of eleven years that included his arrest and imprisonment during Stalin’s final paranoid anti-Semitic campaign and rescued only by Stalin’s death. It was premiered by the Borodin Quartet, who first introduced this Festival to Weinberg. This Quartet was first played in Bantry 21 years ago by the four young women of the Dominant Quartet. It is wonderful open-hearted music, deeply emotional and for once the composer loses all his inhibitions and brings the music to a full-throated conclusion. The comparatively short Eighth Quartet brings us to 1959. For a long time it was the only one of his quartets to be played outside Russia. It is in one unbroken movement, flowing from one mood to the next, clear, powerful, tremendous music..