Christopher Hailey, http://www.amazon.com/Love-Time-Cholera-Vintage-International/dp/0307387143/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1339280022&sr=8-1, Intimate Letters, Kamila Stosslova, Leoš Janáček, Love in the Time of Cholera, Norwegian Chamber Orchestra, Ojai Music Festival
Do yourself a favor, and cut out 25 minutes to listen to this beautiful piece by Leoš Janáček. I had the amazing experience of hearing the Norwegian Chamber Orchestra perform this last night, and it moved me nearly to tears. I’m just going to take this out of the program notes, written by Christopher Hailey:
Janáček’s second quartet, written towards the end of his life, was inspired by his 11-year infatuation with a married woman, Kamila Stosslova, nearly 40 years his junior. Though it is unclear to what extent she returned his affection, the composer’s 700 letters to her explored every spiritual and physical dimension of his love, for which this quartet was to be the crowning testament: “You stand behind every note…,” he wrote her, “these notes of mine kiss all of you. They call for you passionately…”
The viola part (which sounds deeper and lower than a violin) represents Kamilla. In the Adagio (the second movement), Janáček imagines Kamila as the mother of his son, and then in the next movement (Moderato-Andante-Adagio) the composer declares his love. The finale (Allegro-Andante-Adagio) represents the ultimate fulfillment of the composer’s “great yearning”.
To me the piece reminded me so much of the book Love in the Time of Cholera. Passion, obsession, and great yearning are themes of both, and both portray such an unending love, they help me to feel those same emotions through the characters (and composer) who experience them.