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July 31, 2006

Paul McCartney's new choral composition

NEW YORK, July 31 /PRNewswire/ -- Paul McCartney releases his new full- length work of classical music Ecce Cor Meum through EMI Classics on September 26th, 2006. Ecce Cor Meum (Behold My Heart) is Paul's fourth classical album since his first released in 1991, The Liverpool Oratorio.

The piece was commissioned by former Magdalen College president Anthony Smith in hopes McCartney would create "a choral piece which could be sung by young people the world over in the same way that Handel`s Messiah is."

Like many great composers McCartney, started with the music and then looked for a subject that fits. Several ideas for lyrics occurred to him, but they only gelled when he took part in a concert of John Tavener's music in the Church of St. Ignatius Loyola in New York. "While I was waiting to do my bit, I was looking around the church and I saw a statue, and underneath it was written 'Ecce Cor Meum.' I had done some Latin at school and I always had a fondness for it. So I worked it out. I believe it means Behold My Heart."

In November 2001, the first version of Ecce Cor Meum was given its first preview performance by the Magdalen College Choir, which was conducted by Bill Ives at the Sheldonian Theatre, Oxford. This was a great learning experience for Paul. "Eventually I made it all come together through correcting a lot of misapprehensions -- a lot was learned before the Sheldonian performance, but a lot of it was learned afterwards. 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 synthesizer (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, 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."

Produced by John Fraser, Ecce Cor Meum was recorded this year at the legendary Abbey Road Studios between March 13th and 17th. It was performed by EMI artist Kate Royal (soprano); The Boys of King's College Choir, Cambridge; The Boys Of Magdalen College Choir, Oxford and The Academy Of St. Martin In The Fields conducted by Gavin Greenway.

Posted by acapnews at July 31, 2006 11:18 PM