C0 note (16,35 Hz) — vibrating on liquid surface

D0 note (18.35 Hz) — vibrating on liquid surface

C0 note (16,35 Hz) — vibrating on liquid surface

F0 note (21.83 Hz) — vibrating on liquid surface

G0 note (24.50 Hz) — vibrating on liquid surface

A0 note (27.50 Hz) — vibrating on liquid surface

Rohde, Kurt: inside voice 



Basic information

  • Title: 
    inside voice
  • Subtitle: 
  • Composer: 
  • Duration (in minutes): 
  • Year of composition: 
  • First performance (year): 
  • First performance (venue): 
  • First performance (performers): 


  • Program notes: 

    inside voice is a single movement work and was composed in New York City in August 2015 for the Lyris Quartet as part of their Janácek Intimate Letters project. The work is dedicated to these exceptional musicians and people with admiration and affection.

    Numbering at over 700, Janácek’s love letters to Kamila Stösslová document an obsessive manifesto between the elder composer and his younger muse. I read these letters as part of my preparation for playing both of Janacek’s string quartets a few years back, and was struck with their intensity and surprising flexibility of tone, all while remaining remarkably focused on being…intimate. As a primary source, letters are one of the few documents that offer insight on an exchange at a most private interaction between people. Letters can be silly, painful, boring, embarrassing, revelatory, sad; What is of interest to me are the variety of approaches one can take when writing something that feels important at the time for the writer and the need to write it down and send it to that special someone. A letter can be, in a manner of speaking, a frozen feeling of urgency or need. The tone and mood in a letter can go anywhere, and it is the energy behind the words that the reader can ascertain the impulse of the writer. The letter writer wants to make sure that their intended reader gets the message; Just as someone who is speaking in an emotionally charged situation wants to be heard, the letter writer wants to be read.

    Think of Robert Schumann writing to Clara Wieck, of Dvořák writing to friends back home while he was in America, of Mozart to his family while on his tours of Europe, of Beethoven to his brothers while in Heiligenstadt, of Fanny Mendelssohn Hensel to her brother Felix Mendelssohn – all of these missives contain this energy of urgent necessity. Janácek’s String Quartet No. 2, Intimate Letters, is a brilliant work, not only for its construction and emotional range, but also for its sheer, unabashed delight to make a sound that needs to be heard. My response piece, inside voice, attempts to capture the energy I am trying to transmit to the listener in my music. The work is in many ways a reflection of the type of person I am; it has a clear focus at the onset, and is intent on a specific course only to become distracted, which itself ultimately comes into focus and develops a new interest in its own right. The conversation I have inside my head while composing is not unlike the way I would sit down and write a letter (something that I actually still do!). My “letter” here is the music being played, and it is a letter that is meant to be heard.



Total number of musicians: 
Musicians1st player2nd player
Musicians1st player2nd player
Double Bass



Content posted to the ISCM website reflects the viewpoint of individual submitters; its appearance herein does not imply official endorsement by the ISCM, its Executive Committee, or the Delegates to its General Assembly.