Steel pan music in the Caribbean is normally associated with pulsating soca music, large complicated arrangements during Carnival, and the general rhythm and tempo songs people all around the world look forward to when they visit this part of the world.
However, the steel pan can be used for an assortment of genres; and be it reggae, soul, pop or even jazz, the musical instrument has shown over the years that its strength lies not in the spectacle, but in its flexibility.
Which brings us to Sunday’s performance by the classical steel orchestra, the Holetown Harmonites, directed by Morris Greenidge.
Over the years this group has successfully proclaimed its passion and love of music through the vessel of steel pan. The end result has been intricate blend of melodious arrangements with some classical pieces of music as was the case with last weekend’s performance which opened with the famous Baroque piece, Canon in D, written by the much beloved German composer Johann Pachelbel.
The piece, well known because of its popularity in wedding ceremonies, set the intimate tone for the evening’s proceedings that followed. Canon was followed up by Themes from Rosamunde by Frank Schubert, Elizabethan Serenade by Ronald Binge and Panis Anglelicus by César Franck. Elizabethan Serenade is one of my personal favourites; originally, this piece was conceptualized in the 20th century and gained popularity during the post war era in Britain.
Last Sunday, Nathan Richards also took center stage and, with the help of Marilyn Smith on piano, serenaded the audience with romantic selections of Agnus Dei, Apres un Reve and the much regarded selection from Vaughan William entitled Silent Moon.
No classically themed evening is complete without a taste of Mozart and Sunday was no different. Symphony No 40 was introduced as a tease to Mozart’s potent repertoire before the intermission, with Eine Kleine Serenade following soon after. The latter piece is known for its use of string orchestras, which made it an excellent choice for Greenidge to use to demonstrate the full capabilities of his ensemble.
In the end, all in attendance deemed it a privilege to have participated in what was a delectable classical music journey.