Leoš Janáček’s Second String Quartet, Intimate Letters, inspires four complementary new works by Billy Childs, Bruce Broughton, Peter Knell and Kurt Rohde in an inventive new recording by the “radiant” (Los Angeles Times) Los Angeles-based ensemble. On September 30, ARS will release The Lyris Quartet’s Intimate Letters, an inspired new project anchored by the Second String Quartet of Leoš Janáček, “Intimate Letters”. Janáček’s Intimate Letters holds a special place in the repertoire of the Los Angeles-based Lyris Quartet; having been the first work that the group performed publicly and one they return to most often. So it is fitting that the piece serve as catalyst for the ensemble’s first recording. Often referred to as the composer’s “manifesto on love”, Intimate Letters was inspired by Janáček’s near obsessive devotion to his longtime muse Kamila Stösslová (a married woman 38 years his junior) to whom he wrote more than 700 love letters over 11 years.
The Lyris Quartet – Alyssa Park (violin), Shalini Vijayan (violin), Luke Maurer (Viola) and Timothy Loo (cello) – are known as faithful champions of new music and are the resident ensemble of the celebrated new-music series Jacaranda in Santa Monica. The Quartet chose to present Janáček’s storied quartet together with four new works inspired by the piece and commissioned for the Lyris by distinguished Los Angeles composers Bruce Broughton, Billy Childs, Peter Knell, and Kurt Rohde.
To ensure the recording breathes original life into Janáček’s masterpiece the Lyris brought this cross-genre and and multi-media roster of composers - together, asking each to write a work in response to the original Intimate Letters. The result is a dazzling homage to Janáček’s most ardent quartet.