John Harbison’s five-movement String Quartet No. 2
(1987)—written in a personal, airy style, with a lot of mystery and intriguing ambiguities—is among his best works. The more dissonant, expressionist Quartet No. 2
(1934) by Richard Wernick and Gunther Schuller’s Third Quartet
(1986) aren’t as immediately communicative, but the Harbison is work the price of the disc.