Ecce Cor MeumCan anyone think of a better choice to compose a classical piece for an orchestra than… Paul McCartney? Invited by Magdalen College Oxford president Anthony Smith to create a piece to set the seal on a new concert hall, McCartney surprised others, and himself, with the quality of his work. “If it had been a Beatles song I would have known how to do it. But this was a completely different ball game,” said McCartney. And a different ballgame it is, though McCartney proves himself equally adept at classical as at poppy melodies and catchy hooks.

The album was released in 2006, and presented with the award for Best Album at the UK Classical Brit Awards in 2007. And now in 2008, EMI Classics has released a live performance of the piece to DVD. Featuring the entire hour-long show and an additional 47 minute documentary entitled “Creating Ecce Cor Meum,” the DVD has its bases covered when it comes to thoroughness. Listening to McCartney talk about the creation of the piece and his relatively weak knowledge of the genre beforehand is a show in itself, though the recording of the performance at the Royal Albert Hall in London is the real treat.

Split up into five sections (I. Spiritus, II. Gratia, Interlude (Lament), III. Musica, IV. Ecce Cor Meum), the performance is resoundingly powerful, with Kate Royal singing soprano, and numerous boys choir’s providing the backdrop. Those uninterested in classical performances will find little to enjoy here, but if that’s the case then they shouldn’t be looking here for enjoyment anyway. The camera shots allow the show to sweep onto the television without becoming stale or forced. It’s the kind of show that those present will remember for years, but at least if you weren’t there you can own the dvd.

Zach’s Rating: A-
Perfect For: Fans of classical composition
Stay Away if: You’re looking for pop melodies
Watch for: McCartney discussing the creation of the piece

To purchase Paul McCartney: Ecce Cor Meum, visit Amazon

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