Paul McCartney

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COMPOSERS: Paul McCartney
LABELS: EMI
ALBUM TITLE: Paul McCartney’s Ecce Cor Meum
WORKS: Ecce cor meum
PERFORMER: Kate Royal (soprano); Boys of King’s College Choir, Cambridge; The Boys of Magdalen Choir, Oxford; Academy of St Martin in the Fields/Gavin Greenaway
CATALOGUE NO: 370 4242
Eight years in the making, Ecce

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Cor Meum is Paul McCartney’s

fourth classical album, the result

of a commission from Magdalen

College, Oxford, whose choir is one

of three in this premiere recording.

In the opening ‘Spiritus’

McCartney cleverly splits the text

(English, with some Latin) spatially

and antiphonally between the

different sets of voices. Its architecture

is block-like, one section succeeding

another with little thematic

development, and its conclusion

slams in abruptly. There are plenty of effective ideas in the other four

movements, including fine, idiomatic

writing for soprano Kate Royal in the

‘Gratia’, a plangent oboe solo in the

Interlude: ‘Lament’, and bold use of

the organ in the concluding ‘Ecce Cor

Meum’. Overall, though, the results

are agreeably inoffensive but in no

way sharply distinctive.

Technically, McCartney has clearly

come a long way since the Liverpool

Oratorio. The classical learning curve,

however, seems somehow to have

squeezed much of the lyrical fecundity

and musical inventiveness out of one

of the greatest melodists in the history

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of popular music history. Terry Blain