The Lindsays, Crucible Theatre, Sheffield

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The Independent Culture

These question-and-answer phrases were emblazoned on the merchandise at the Lindsays' final weekend of concerts, which involved close musical friends as well as players from three generations of the Lindsays' immediate families. Apart from the engaging music-making, the personalities and quirkiness of the quartet have attracted a loyal following to their concerts over 30 years in Sheffield. There was scarcely room for all who turned out to hear their last notes.

The Lindsays played Haydn's D-major quartet and Bartók's second quartet, as well as the Beethoven. Inevitably, their own mood coloured the performances, so that the bleak finale of the Bartók seemed to convey not only the composer's desolate state of mind but also their own sadness. But it was in the genial final notes of the Beethoven, with its volleys of pizzicato laughter, that they spiritedly played themselves out.

Five stars perhaps don't reflect the Lindsays at this last, emotional concert which, not surprisingly, didn't represent the quartet at its absolute best. They are for the revelatory performances, ambitious programming and total dedication of the Lindsays who, in their festivals in the Crucible Studio alone, have given 903 performances of 327 quartets by 96 composers. Beyond South Yorkshire - as Manchester University's quartet in residence for 27 years, for instance - throughout Britain and abroad, they've made a huge impact.

The newly formed Ensemble 360 will develop the Music in the Round series in Sheffield and beyond. Also on the positive side, apart from their recording legacy, each of the Lindsays is to embark on one of a variety of collaborations.

Music in the Round 2005-06: Ensemble 360 and Friends, Crucible Studio, Sheffield (0114-249 6000)