Throughout his long career, Sculthorpe has been a prolific composer of string quartets, and also a composer very much concerned with current affairs. These two preoccupations coalesce in Sculthorpe's String Quartet No 16, a bleak, but beautiful work inspired by letters written by asylum seekers held in Australian detention centres. The piece was premiered by the Tokyo String Quartet in 2005 and the group chose to revive it for the farewell Australian tour earlier this year. 

Press comments

'The music depicts the bleak inhumanity of man towards man in uncompromising terms...A loosely interpolated love chant from Central Afghanistan makes for a wistful central theme. What little light there is can be found in occasional bursts of bird song that flutter upwards towards the light ...The TSQ... proved ideally suited to the austere beauties of this profound work.'
Limelight Magazine (Clive Paget), 28 May 2013