Inside Intimate Voices

A couple of years ago we sat down and tried to define exactly what made the medium of the ‘string quartet’ so special, so unique and so inspiring for so many composers, performers and audiences alike. A quality that came up time and time again was ‘intimacy’. We are blessed that so many wonderful composers have chosen the quartet scoring to explore some of their deepest emotions and most experimental writing. The range of quartets exploring ‘intimate’ expression is staggering. Therefore, we are really proud and excited to announce our ‘Intimate Voices’ project, a theme which will encompass all of our concerts in the Autumn season. Be it a lunchtime university event, a pop up concert at your local coffee shop or a full evening recital at the Queens Hall, the concert will showcase pieces with this intimate idea at the heart.

Our opening concert of the season features Janáček’s wonderful quartet ‘Intimate Letters’. This work, named by the composer, is inspired by over 700 letters of love and obsession written between Janáček and the young married woman, Kamila Stosslova, 38 years his junior. In our Rush Hour concert we will combine this intense and powerful music with a selection of the letters read by Edinburgh Makar Ron Butlin.

I love music and always relish the opportunity to work with the Edinburgh Quartet –especially when it involves one of my favourite pieces, Janáček’s ‘Intimate Letters’. The composer’s concern for ‘speech sounds’ creates a unique and genuine intimacy of expression that, as a poet, I find deeply moving and quite irresistible. The Rush Hour Concert series is an inspired way to present music – a brief oasis of calm in the heart of our hectic city. I look forward to sharing my enthusiasm for this work with the audience, before joining them to enjoy what will be a wonderful performance of a truly great work.” – Ron Butlin

Ron has worked many times with the Edinburgh Quartet in the past and these collaborations always add a fantastic dimension to the music. Not only is his delivery of the material evocative and entertaining, but, with his own deep understanding of the music he is adept at illuminating and complementing the music beautifully.