Between 1876 and 1878, two masterpieces were created in the midst of a wave of nationalism sweeping Europe. Distressed by tragic events, Grieg and Smetana turned to the string quartet, a form hitherto rare in their output, as a means of expressing their turbulent emotions. Through the communion of sixteen strings, the composers retrace the story of their lives, producing two quartets with an infinitely personal dimension and unprecedented emotional power.