Amber Quartet finds their groove

Updated: Dec 21, 2022 By Chen Nan China Daily Print
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Amber Quartet performs at the Forbidden City Concert Hall in Beijing on June 19 featuring Felix Mendelssohn's music works for string quartets.[Photo provided to China Daily]

For Chinese audiences, Felix Mendelssohn's Wedding March in C major is so famous, opening with its notable blast of brass, that it seems like it's been around forever.

"The German composer's output also contains many chamber works that display an emotional intensity, which deserve to be heard by the audience," says Yang Yichen, the cellist of Amber Quartet, who is also a teacher at the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing.

On Friday, the string quartet, one of the best-known in China, released their latest album, Felix Mendelssohn String Quartets, featuring two music works that the composer wrote: String Quartet No 2 in A Minor, Op 13 and String Quartet No 6 in F Minor, Op 80, and a music piece adapted from the composer's art song, 12 Lieder, Op 9: No 1, Frage, which was arranged by Yang for the string quartet.

The album was released by Naxos, and was the first collaboration between Amber Quartet and the classical music label.

"When we were preparing for this new album, we listed some music works by different composers that we love but we decided to record Mendelssohn's string quartet works because few Chinese string quartets did it. His string quartet works are so beautiful and the audience will enjoy them very much," says Ning Fangliang, first violin of Amber Quartet, who also teaches at the Central Conservatory of Music. "We also hope that the audience will learn more about the composer."

Born into a wealthy banking family in Hamburg, Germany, Mendelssohn was a child prodigy akin to Mozart and Beethoven. He composed some of his best works as a teenager. He worked tirelessly during his short life and died in Leipzig, Germany, at the age of 38.

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