Intimate Letters - Australian Chamber Orchestra

Intimate Letters

18 August - 2 September 2014


MOZART Divertimento in F, K.138 
SMETANA (arr. from string orchestra) String Quartet No.1 “From My Life”
JANÁČEK (arr. Valve) String Quartet No.2 “Intimate Letters”


Gordan Nikolic Guest Director & Violin, London Symphony Orchestra
Peter Evans Co-Artistic Director, Bell Shakespeare
Susanna Dowling Assistant Director, Bell Shakespeare
Nicholas Rayment Lighting Designer

With Marshall Napier and Ella Scott Lynch
Concept by Timo-Veikko Valve

In a dramatic collaboration with Bell Shakespeare, we perform Janáček’s Intimate Letters and Smetana’s From My Life, sharing the stage with esteemed actors who give life to the stories which inspired the music.

Our theatrical staging of Janáček’s first quartet, the Kreutzer Sonata, received glowing reviews and it is exciting to give his second quartet Intimate Letters the same treatment, performing an arrangement for string orchestra under the direction of London Symphony Orchestra concertmaster Gordan Nikolic.

Inspired by more than 700 passionate letters written between Janáček and his much younger, married muse, Intimate Letters explores their overwhelming and obsessive love. Smetana’s autobiographical From My Life soars with the joy and hope of childhood which gradually derails and ultimately descends into despair, as the composer faces the inescapable fate of impending deafness.

Martin Buzacott, The Australian

"Soon the warm, full-bodied tone and phrasing, and the sheer breadth of the artistic vision, transports the listener into another, more substantial world, with a sublime slow movement, then a fin­ale exploding with life because of its aforementioned technical excellence.
By the time ACO principal viola Christopher Moore’s spectacular, Hendrix-like “call of destiny” theme ignites Smetana’s String Quartet No 1 in its string-orchestral arrangement, it’s time to pick the jaw up off the floor.
This is a magnificent performance of Smetana’s anguished act of defiance in the face of total deafness, Timo-Veikko Valve’s cello and Nikolic’s violin solos also searing in their intensity."

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The Sunday Times, UK

"...conducting, playing and dancing around the the podium [Gordan Nikolic is] delightful to watch as well as listen to."


Selected Audio