Great works: Janácek's ‘Intimate Letters’ Quartet

Course Dates: 07/04/22
Time: 14:00 - 16:00
Location: KS - Keeley Street
‘I maintain,’ Janácek once wrote, ‘that a pure musical note means nothing unless it is pinned down in life, blood and locale; otherwise, it is a worthless toy.’ In his passionate Second String Quartet, which he named ‘Intimate Letters’, the seventy-three-year-old sought to depict and exalt Kamila Stösslová, a woman over 35 years his junior with whom he exchanged more than 700 letters. This astonishing declaration of love and obsession was premiered a month after Janácek’s death.
This course takes place in the classroom, please follow this link to find out what we are doing to keep you safe: Staying COVID-19 secure at City Lit
Book your place
In stock
Full fee £29.00 Senior fee £23.00 Concession £18.00

Course Code: MD041B

Thu, day, 07 Apr - 07 Apr '22

Duration: 1 session

Or call to enrol:020 7831 7831

Any questions?
or call 020 7492 2630

Please note: We offer a wide variety of financial support to make courses affordable. Just visit our online Help Center for more information on a range of topics including fees, online learning and FAQs.

What is the course about?

In this course, we will look historically and analytically at Janácek’s Second String Quartet – one of his last compositions – and the extent to which it is bound up with depicting his relationship with Kamila Stösslová. This will include studying the various playing techniques used in the piece, and its unusual construction.

What will we cover?

- A brief overview of Janácek’s career, and his late rise to international prominence
- The importance of his ‘muses’, and the three women with whom he had affairs and then incorporated into his compositions – with Stösslová as the third and most significant
- The structure of the Quartet and its ‘programme’, as Janácek outlined it to Stösslová
- The publication and premiere of the piece, and the tangled history of its dedication.

What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...

- Summarise the circumstances in which Janácek wrote the Symphony
- Outline the role that Stösslová played in its composition
- Identify some of the musical styles and features in the Symphony
- Summarise the events surrounding its premiere and publication.

What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?

The course in intended to be accessible for anyone with an interest in western classical music. We will look at various scores and historical documents during this course but you do not need to read music notation to participate in these activities. All texts will be in English or accompanied by an English translation. Musical scores are all available free online via IMSLP.

How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?

Sessions will comprise combinations of lecture, discussion, quizzes, guided listening, video and score study. Course materials (handouts, scores, links to online videos) will be shared via google classroom.
- You will be encouraged to do extra reading outside class.

Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?

You may also wish to purchase some of the music books or recordings discussed in class, links to these materials will be available online after each session.

When I've finished, what course can I do next?

To find out more about music history classes Music history courses in London and online which lists our full programme of classes ordered by term, and by day of the week. You may then click on each title to read the full course outline.

Katy Hamilton Tutor Website

Dr Katy Hamilton is a freelance researcher, writer and presenter on music. She is fast becoming one of the UK’s most sought-after speakers on music, providing talks for a host of organisations including the Wigmore Hall, Southbank Centre, BBC Proms, Ryedale Festival and Oxford Lieder Festival. In addition, she regularly writes programme notes for the Salzburg Festival, North Norfolk Festival and the Philharmonia Orchestra, and is a frequent contributor to BBC Radio 3’s Record Review. Katy worked as Graham Johnson’s research assistant for his monumental Franz Schubert: The Songs and their Poets (Yale University Press, 2014) and is co-editor of Brahms in the Home and the Concert Hall (Cambridge University Press, 2014) and Brahms in Context (Cambridge University Press, 2019). In addition to her research and presentation work, Katy has taught at the Royal College of Music, City Lit, the University of Nottingham and Middlesex University, working with students in performance workshops and music history classes. She has been teaching Music History courses at City Lit since 2015. She is also Public Events Programmer at the Foundling Museum in central London.

Please note: We reserve the right to change our tutors from those advertised. This happens rarely, but if it does, we are unable to refund fees due to this. Our tutors may have different teaching styles; however we guarantee a consistent quality of teaching in all our courses.