The composition of this quartet was completed in November 2020. It begins with a meandering prelude, which makes use of a melody composed as a student exercise in 1973 to an ostinato taken from Béla Bartók's Mikrokosmos, vol. 4, no. 113. The second movement is a waltz that is Viennese in tempo, if not in mood. The third movement is based on sketches that were abandoned in the 1980s, but which re-emerged in part in 'The Levelled Churchyard', the fourth song of the composer's Thomas Hardy cycle Past & Present, Op. 33 (2017). The fourth movement derives from a sketch made during July–September 1971, which concludes the quartet by returning to the Bartókian character heard in the first movement. The quartet also quotes from two pop songs dating from the composer's teenage years ('Cecil Rose', 1967, in the first movement, and 'Winter Had Come', 1966, in the second movement). The quantity of musical reminiscence was undoubtedly prompted by composing in a time of crisis created by the Covid-19 pandemic, and explains why the work is titled 'quartetto nostalgico'.