Published on 10 July 2017

Credit: 19SIXTYFIVE Pte Ltd

Singapore’s first string quartet will be releasing its new album Trampled Souls later this month after an 11-year break and 25 years since its formation.

By Melanie Lee

Back in the ‘90s, the T’ang Quartet broke new ground in the local music scene with their contemporary reinterpretations of classical music.

For the past decade, Ng Yu-Ying, Ang Chek Meng, Lionel Tan and Leslie Tan have been busy mentoring at Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music, doing outreach programmes and performing the occasional concert.

“We have always been about dispelling the myth that classical music is for ‘elite people’ and this vision hasn’t changed,” says second violinist Ang.

However, Ang does feel that the dynamics of the quartet have evolved. “It’s like an old marriage. We’re not so sensitive about things because we’re used to each other’s habits. We’re more united when we play together these days, we sound more like one entity,” he says.

Ang also notices the difference in promoting their upcoming album and concert this time round. “We used to make our own posters and we’d drive around town asking cafes and mama shops if we could leave flyers there. But now, everything is digital! I’m glad we have a management team for that,” he adds with a laugh.

Trampled Souls focuses on the theme of darkness and their emotive, engaging renditions drive home the point that there is storytelling in music. For example, one of their tracks, Leoš Janáček’s Kreutzer Sonata, is inspired by Leo Tolstoy’s novella of the same name, and revolves around the oppression of women, jealousy in relationships and murder.

“It’s an album where we play pieces which we played years ago. So, to approach those pieces again now, after so many years, we’ve given it a more mature take,” says Tan, the group’s cellist.

Credit: 19SIXTYFIVE Pte Ltd
Credit: 19SIXTYFIVE Pte Ltd
Credit: 19SIXTYFIVE Pte Ltd

Here’s a music video for one of their album tracks – Marjan Mozetich’s Lament in the Trampled Garden.

The T’ang Quartet will be performing on Sunday, 30 July 2017 at The Armenian Church. Click here for more information.

Trampled Souls will be available for streaming on all major platforms and digital purchase on iTunes Store from 28 July 2017. CDs and limited edition vinyl records will be on sale from 25 August 2017.

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