Goldschmidt’s four string quartets span the whole of his compositional career: the first was written in 1926 while he was still a student in Berlin; the fourth, completed in 1992 at the age of 89, was his last work in the chamber medium. Like the Third Quartet, the Fourth is in one continuous movement. Goldschmidt’s initial idea was to write a divertimento-like piece, in contrast to the prevailingly dark tone of the Second and Third Quartets. But during the course of composition, his companion Margot Rosenkranz lost her son and this event cast its shadow over the works' overall character. The deceptively playful opening viola solo, with its tension between the neighbouring tonalities of C and D flat, contains the seeds of everything else that happens in this closely argued work, which is in fact a concentrated and tightly-knit set of variations.