Paul McCartney's Oratorio Ecce Cor Meum to Get World Premiere Nov. 3 in London

Classic Arts News   Paul McCartney's Oratorio Ecce Cor Meum to Get World Premiere Nov. 3 in London
Ecce Cor Meum, Paul McCartney's new four-movement work for chorus and orchestra, will receive its world premiere performance at London's Royal Albert Hall on November 3.

The work will be performed by soprano Kate Royal, the Academy of Martin-in-the-Fields, the boys of Magdalen College Choir and King's College Choir, and London Voices, all conducted by Gavin Greenaway. These are the same forces which appear on the EMI Classics recording of the work which was released on September 26 and immediately went to no. 2 on the Billboard classical chart.

Ecce Cor Meum ("Behold My Heart") is McCartney's fourth classical album since The Liverpool Oratorio was released in 1991. He worked on the piece, a commission from Magdalen College, Oxford, for more than eight years.

According to a statement, Anthony Smith, president of Magdalen College from 1998 to 2005, wanted "a choral piece which could be sung by young people the world over, in the same way that Handel's Messiah is."

Ecce Cor Meum has been revised since its preview performance in 2001 by the Magdalen College Choir at the Sheldonian Theatre in Oxford. Regarding the revision, McCartney said, "An experienced choral composer knows that children can't be given huge sustained passages; they don't have the energy and the stamina. At the Sheldonian there was some quite hard stuff that I didn't realize because I'd done it on the synthesiser (which has endless stamina!), but during that first performance the solo treble couldn't come on for the second half — I think I'd used him up in the first half!"

"These are things that people either learn because they are taught them immediately at the first lesson, or you learn through the years," he continued, "so it was good to go through the piece a lot of times, and we took out huge choral sections and gave them to the orchestra. If it had been a Beatles song I would have known how to do it. But this was a completely different ball game."

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