THE setting- a remote church in Old Radnor on a dreary, rainy Sunday afternoon. The music- two timeless and transcendental quartets written by two composers nearly two hundred years apart.

String Quartet No 6, Op36, by this year's Presteigne Festival Composer in Residence, Matthew Taylor commenced proceedings, filling the beautiful interior of 15th century Saint Stephen's Church with the surging, energetic rhythms of the first movement, Giubiloso, and leading the rapt audience – a full house - through the subtle yet powerful Romanzo second movement, dedicated to the composer's wife, and described by Taylor as 'the heart of the music....the themes of the last two(movements) are directly related to (it)'.

The extraordinary realisation of this exquisite and enchanting composition, was roundly appreciated – but surely no surprise, as the pedigree of the artists, Navarra Quartet is undeniable.

Their festival credits include BBC Proms, Bath, Aix-en-Province, Bellerive and Schwetzinger, and they've graced the stage at Wigmore Hall, Berlin,Konzerthaus and Luxembourg Philharmonie, to name but a few. It's the calibre of performance and artist festival goers have become used to over the years and testament to the hard work and dedication of organisers that once again, they were just one group of artists in a glittering line-up served up at this year's festival.

The second quartet of the afternoon – Beethoven's String Quartet in A Minor, Op 132 - is a powerful a piece of music as one can encounter in this form. The central movement, again possibly the heart, was written following a period of serious illness that the composer feared was terminal and was, in Beethoven's words, 'A Holy Song of Thanks'. Hearts were indeed stirred and we silently gave thanks for such immense beauty. My nine-year-old young son, an avid student of the violin, showed a little more brevity in his account of the afternoon – 'irresistibly magical', he said.

And the overall effect? A hushed church in awed reverence of the sublime sonorities, in both their conception and their delivery. Even the rain had stopped.