Songs for the trees

Western Classical

Songs for the trees

Pianist Chris Williams is no stranger to the lovers of Western Classical music in the City, he performed some of the best works of Handel, Schubert and Scarlatti at St Mark’s Cathedral recently.

He had hand-picked a few compositions for the evening and all of them seemed balanced in form and content. He began with Handel's Chaconne in G Major which is a big showpiece, performed in 21 variations. He then moved on to Scarlatti, the contemporary of Handel. These were more gentle pieces which had a flamenco and spanish finish to them.

The Trees of India, a set of three pieces which Chris had written and composed, especially for the evening revolved around the felling and mindless hacking of trees, all in the name of development and progress. He writes about the Gulmohar tree, Jacaranda and Rain tree. “These trees are cut to make way for taller, posher and more modern structures. If we take our trees for granted, we lose our lung space,” he reasons and adds, “my compositions are a wake up call.”

Chris sustained the audience interest when he performed Schubert's Sonata in G Major. The piece has four movements and lasts for nothing less than 45 minutes, “This is a piece that I wanted to master ever since I was a young boy. I can’t say that I have perfected the piece but I am near perfection,” observes Chris and adds, “the piece captures various moods — stormy, gentle, happy, loud and soft.”  
  
Chris began his musical career at the age of eight as a chorister at St Paul's Cathedral, London. He has been living in India since 2002, firstly as composer-in-residence at the Lawrence School, Sanawar for whom he wrote and produced a musical play, The Coolie's Tale, to celebrate the centenary of the Kalka-Shimla Railway and a musical adaptation of Rudyard Kipling's Kim.

Since moving to Bangalore in 2004, he has worked as an accent, culture trainer and vocal coach.

He has had an experience as a model and an actor, recorded voice-overs for films and animations, and was musical director of Stand Up, Noah Small!, performed by children from 19 schools in the City.

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