Chinese Celebrations for String Quartet

Chinese music for string quartet: orchestral pieces by Lee Chun-Ping, Su Wen-Ching, and Chen Ju-Chi, arranged for western string quartet by Matt Springer


These two string quartet arrangements of Chinese music are designed to let a western string quartet play the music in authentic Chinese style, even if the players are not already familiar with the style. Because I play both western violin and Chinese erhu, I have been able to use standard ornaments and non-standard but intuitive symbols to instruct the players on how to play the music. Many Chinese pieces would not sound good played by a western string quartet, but these two pieces work quite well.

With the relative scarcity of commercially available Chinese arrangements for string quartet, it is my hope that both Asian and non-Asian string players can expand their repertoire with this Chinese string quartet music.

News: 

Johnson String Instrument has started carrying this music.  Johson is currently (1/2013) the only supplier carrying this that ships outside of the United States.

Strings Magazine ran an article about these arrangements, with a focus on Joyous Festival, in its January 2007 issue.

 

Sheet music purchasing information:
Chinese Celebrations for String Quartet was arranged in 2000-2001 and published in 2006
as a Khach-22 production.  The sheet music is available from the Shar Music and Johnson String Instrument online catalogs (on their websites, search for "Springer")

 

Streaming audio of individual movements

For high-speed connections, use the mp3 links (may require you to download the free Quicktime Player; button at right)

For dial-up connections, you may need to use the RealAudio links (requires the free Real Media Player)   (trouble getting the RealAudio music to play?)

Reference recording: Matt Springer and Elisa Tong, violins; Edward Hattyar, viola; Chuck Smith, cello.

1.   Feng Yang Flower Drum Song mp3 RealAudio
2.  Joyous Festival  mp3 RealAudio

These non-professional recordings are a good source of interpretation for those who are unsure of how certain passages are meant to sound. The recordings are for reference only and are not commercially available.

Like the Chinese lion on the cover?  It's loosely based on a photograph of the Fook Sing Lion Dance Troupe at the 2005 San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festival, taken by photographer Bonnie Kamin.  Check out her website for a gallery and San Francisco Bay Area contact info!  Also check out the amazing, amusing series of coincidences that led to this cover design.

 

Program notes:

1) Feng Yang Flower Drum Song: This arrangement is based on a well known Chinese melody, Feng Yang Hua Gu. Lee Chun-Ping composed a piece for traditional Chinese orchestra based on this melody, and added a nice slow section in the middle. I have arranged Mr. Lee's composition for western string quartet, retaining the Chinese feel of the original piece, and even incorporating the ubiquitous drumming of the original in the part of the lucky second violinist.

2) Joyous Festival: This arrangement is based on an original composition by Su Wen-Ching and Chen Ju-Chi called Xi Qing, or Joyous Festival. The piece has many sections, ranging from grand and ceremonial to soft and pretty. The original piece, while written in the Chinese style, is undeniably influenced by western writing; so the transition to western string quartet is reasonably straightforward.

 

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