Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Another Mournful Musical Moment

I really didn't mean to post on two mournful works in a row, but this one is really worth blogging about. I recently heard a broadcast of a live performance from Carnegie Hall of a classical work by popular music icon Paul McCartney. The piece is called Ecce Cor Meum which is Latin for Behold My Heart. You can download an interview with Sir Paul about the piece here. Most of it was written after he lost his wife Linda to cancer in 1998. A recording of an earlier performance is available on CD at Amazon. The Amazon page will let you play the opening clips of each of the five movements. I liked it enough to order the CD, which hopefully will come today.

It's not his first classical music composition, but it is by far his most ambitious. Primarily a choral work (for children's choir and soprano), it was composed over a period of eight years, and was also a learning experience for Sir Paul. In early versions of the work, for example, he expected the vocalists to be able to sing full out for the entire duration of the piece, and later cut it back when he learned that what he had composed wasn't possible to perform.

While it's not what you'd call a sophisticated piece of music, it has many moments that are quite touching and beautiful. It recalls a requiem and has a strong liturgical character as well. It's also quite effective in conveying the message that love can endure when life does not, and that McCartney has poured out his grief via the music, and in some way resolved it.

McCartney is following the same career pattern that I mentioned in last weeks post about Samuel Barber, in that he had an established career in popular music and then later started composing classical music. All in all, it's a fine piece of music, and an interesting milestone in a remarkable musical career.

So listen, reflect and enjoy.


Blogger J. T. Corey said...

Hey, Richard,

Just wanted to stop by and wish a very happy Thanksgiving to my favorite Episcopalian heretic.

Take care of yourself, buddy.

6:39 PM  

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