Ether Game

Janacek: String Quartet No. 2

Can you guess this piece? Here’s a hint: The Czech’s in the mail

For the last eleven years of his life, Janáček carried a torch for Kamila Stösslová, a woman he barely knew, but with whom he had an imagined affair. Almost daily he would write letters to her, and much of his music of this period is colored by this strange and unrequited love. Such is the case with his second string quartet, subtitled “Intimate Letters.” Janáček had, at first, planned to title the work “Love Letters,” a reference to the VIOLA D’AMORE, which was to have replaced the viola in the quartet. The VIOLA D’AMORE is a strange instrument with seven bowed strings and seven other strings that sympathetically vibrate. For whatever reason, Janáček decided against including the VIOLA D’AMORE, and the subtitle of the work changed to “Intimate Letters.”

Music Heard On This Episode

Leos Janácek: String Quartet No. 2 Intimate Letters
Guarneri Quartet — Janacek: String Quartets (Polygram Records, 1999)
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album cover
Leos Janácek: String Quartet No. 2 Intimate Letters
Guarneri Quartet — Janacek: String Quartets (Polygram Records, 1999)
Buy from Amazon »
album cover

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