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In further discussions about the global impact steelpan music of Lord Kitchener's "Pan in A Minor" -  a colleague of mine made the following observation.

Strangely, Symphony In G, which predates Pan in A Minor by a decade, is also a in minor key and has a more classic feel, but never had the global impact.  It could be 1) Kitch should have named it Pan in G Minor, or, more plausibly, Pan was yet to go global in 1979.  Plus, there was no Panorama that year. Then again, none of the above is always a good choice, when trying to predict human behavior or you’re guessing like I am.

What do you think?

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Every piece from a Master is a Master Piece and here we have the Grand Master, so I guess it will have to come to personal choice, my choice is Pan In A Minor.

LESTON PAUL made the difference!!!


Musical production and arrangement.

    You know how sometimes you have a good movie that's fairly successful, and then there is a sequel that receives all the promotion and advertising and becomes a giant hit?

That's how I think of "Symphony" and "A Minor" .

If you think about it , "Pan in A Minor" is almost a sequel to "Symphony in G".

After all, in both instances the theme is the same.

But I seem to remember that the score for Jit's arrangement of "Pan In A Minor" was made available with the Panorama CDs put out by Sanch.

You would notice that many of the international arrangements are based not on the original calypso, but on Jit's arrangement.

This tune was far more available worldwide in 1987 than "Symphony" was in 79, also because of changes in technology.

Apart from being in the wax record album era, "Symphony" also had the disadvantage of appearing in 1979, the year of the steelband strike.

Both tunes are great classics, but though one has received more acclaim than the other, I couldn't choose between them.

I know one thing, though.

As great a tune as it is, "Pan in A Minor" didn't blow my mind the way "Symphony in G" did in 1979, and anyone who could remember back then should relate.

And BTW, if an arranger was responsible for the difference in popularity between these tunes, it certainly wasn't Leston Paul, as much as I respect him.

It was Jit Samaroo.


Noted journalist, panist and arranger for Highlanders Steel Orchestra Les Slater says in his now landmark document "Lord Kitchener and Pan Music: A Match Made in Heaven"

Driven by the need he recognized to supply Panorama’s fiercely competitive participants with imaginative material, Kitch would spare no effort through the 80s and 90s to do so. Pan magazine referred to his reveling in a “Kitch vs Kitch game of ‘Can You Top This?’” (7) Symphony in G, it turned out, was merely setting us up for the tremendous flow of compositional wizardry that would follow. Such works as No Pan, Sweet Pan, Heat, Pan Night and Day, Pan In A Minor…lured us into thinking there was nothing left in the tank. Guess again. We would continue to be surprised by how awesome were Kitchener’s abilities on the musical front. Always, after his last super offering, was the chance that lurking around the corner was another Iron Man, Bees’ Melody, Earthquake, Guitar Pan

Clearly Kitchener changed gears with the release of this tune. His musical vision for the steelpan, steelpan music and calypso all came togather with the musical statement made by "Symphony in G". Clive Bradley would often say to us at WST that the Trinidad folk music was equal to any music in the world. Bradley said it, live it and did it - so it is somewhat ironic and the same time expected that he, Bradley, would be the arranger to choose "Symphony in G" in 1979 for Desperadoes. I am not aware of any other version "Symphony in G" being played by any other steel orchestra.

I am sure that it was played by other bands that year but documentation is poor due to the boycott. Also figure that the one band that is remembered for having played "Symphony in G" is also the one band that defied the boycott and went on the road (and subsequently recorded it for an LP), Desperadoes.

Well said, PT, and much respect for Les Slater.
He too is at the top of my list when it comes to knowlege and understanding of pan and its culture.

And I hate saying this but The Grand Master set the bar so high when it comes to compositions for and about the pan , that most contemporary composers of so called "pan tunes" are doomed to fall short.

For the most part we have to agree you about the bar being set very high. We will however give Amrit Samaroo major points for his 2007  "Band From Space".  That was a serious tune. It was the best in last decade from our perspective.

one day i hope to join the two pieces, and call it Pan symphony in G and A minor,   the verses are similiar, u know

How could anyone compare any of these Masterpieces? Its like try to compare any of the Great Works of Shakespeare or Plato! The truth is we can only learn from these Great Works of A Grand Master, The Lord Kitchener, Aldwin Roberts.


Nutones Symphony In G classic version...http://youtu.be/7k8DSpJTGns


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