Commissioned Stift Festival 2018
Publisher Gehrmans Musikförlag
Opus Number 61
Category Chamber Music
Year 2018
Duration 15 min
Instrumentation  violin, violin, viola, cello


Program note

My second string quartet “Letters” op.61 is a commission by Daniel Rowland and the Stift Festival 2018 in the Netherlands, and it is dedicated to the Brodsky Quartet. The theme for the Stift Festival of 2018 is words and letters and I was asked if I could compose something on this theme. I got to know that Janacek’s second string quartet “Intimate Letters” was going to be played by the Brodsky Quartet in one concert, so I decided to explore the possibility of writing a commentary piece to his quartet and his letters. My second string quartet “Letters” is inspired by the letters Leos Janacek wrote to his beloved Kamila. I have tried to describe the emotions and words he puts in to his letters; heaven, hope, fear, fire and much more, with my own music.




Letters –  Listen on Youtube



Damström succeeds in a creative way to combine the string quartet with the melodrama. In her customary fruitful manner, Damström contrasts expressive and meditative elements and enriches the tonal fundament with various textures of a more modernistic nature in a personal way.   — Above all, the far from easily played music by Damström, with its skillfully interwoven Janácek quotations, made a vivid impression in the sometimes gaudy changes between delicately vibrating and fiercely cutting passages.

Mats Liljeroos, Hufvudstadsbladet 17 June 2019

The Elia Quartet’s highly intense interpretation of the music, filled with many surprises and technical challenges, was so fulfilling it left no left nothing to be desired. The nearly impossible increase in tremendous expressiveness was ultimately achieved with “Letters” by the contemporary Finnish composer Cecilia Damström. Her composition, created in 2018, directly references Janácek’s “Intimate Letters” and wraps certain motifs from with a modern sonority. Very surprising and effective were melodramatically incorporated quotations from Janácek’s letters in German translation.

Rainer Böttcher, Waldeckische Landeszeitung 6 September 2023


2018 August 29th World Premiere at the Stift Festival – More info

2019 June 15th – Finnish premiere at Musik vid Havet – More info

2019 August  3rd  at Kokonainen Festival – More info

2019 August 11th at Temppeliaukio Church – More info

2019 August  23rd and 24th at the Tampering Festival More info

2021 November 4th at Kauniaisten musiikkijuhlat More info

2023 June 6th German PremiereMore info

2023 July 30th at Korsholm Music FestivalMore info

2023 August 28th Estonian PremiereMore info

2023 September 3rd Elaia Quartet in Bad ArolsenMore info
2023 September 24th Elaia Quartet in Rathaus LeckMore info
2023 September 29th Elaia Quartet in WeselMore info
2023 October 19th Elaia Quartet in BremervördeMore info
2023 November 5th Elaia Quartet in Schwäbisch Hall  – More info
2024 January 6th Elaia Quartet in Balingen – More info
2024 March 19th Elaia Quartet in EdenkobenMore info
2024 April 21st Elaia Quartet in SennestadtMore info
2024 May 5th Elaia Quartet in StralsundMore info
2024 June 2nd Elaia Quartet in Braunschweig – More info