The Second String Quartet was composed when Janáček was 74, in the last year of his life. Listening to this music full of fresh, dramatic, and passionate musical ideas, one almost refuses to believe the age of the composer. But his inspiration was profound; it stemmed from his strong, fateful attraction to a young woman, Kamila Stösslová.
Janáček knew that such a strong emotional experience is not a guarantee of the origin of a great musical work. He wrote to Kamila:
“Sometimes the feeling itself is so overwhelming and strong that notes hide under it and flee. Great love – weak music. And I would like: Great love – glorious music!”