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Working Classical


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Audio CD, October 19, 1999
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Biography

It is the eternal question for an artist of Paul McCartney’s stature: what next? What next when you have… well, that list of achievements, with even the long-touted standards album now ticked off with last year’s ‘Kisses On The Bottom’, hardly needs re-iterating. On one level, you might reasonably think that in terms of awards, honours, sales figures, shows and ... Read more in Amazon's Paul McCartney Store

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (October 19, 1999)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: EMI Classics
  • ASIN: B00001ZSXH
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (43 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #151,261 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Junk
2. A Leaf
3. Haymakers
4. Midwife
5. Spiral
6. Warm And Beautiful
7. My Love
8. Maybe I'm Amazed
9. Calico Skies
10. Golden Earth Girl
11. Somedays
12. Tuesday
13. She's My Baby
14. The Lovely Linda

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

14 songs

Amazon.com

Working Classical might just be the perfect outlet for the composing skills of Sir Paul McCartney. Here, the former Beatles (and, let's not forget, Wings) member scales things down from his previous classical-music endeavors--the overweight works Liverpool Oratorio and Standing Stone. In the hands of the Loma Mar Quartet chamber group and the London Symphony Orchestra, McCartney's shorter compositions sound all the more intimate (and effective). Album opener "Junk" is a simple waltz dating from the composer's days with the Fab Four, performed here by the Quartet with short-but-sweet results. "A Leaf" is another waltz motif, this one performed with a full orchestra. McCartney pop favorites "Warm and Beautiful," "Somedays," "She's My Baby," and "The Lovely Linda" all get chamber-music treatments that bring out their compositional beauty. And, while influences seem to range from Janácek to Morricone, there's no doubting that McCartney knows how to write a convincing ditty--pop or otherwise. --Jason Verlinde

Customer Reviews

I highly recommend this CD, if you can appreciate classical music and Mccartney music, in any way.
jackie
I have been relaxing to this album for the last few days and have even fallen into a restful nap a few times with its music in the background.
Ingalls
If you are a McCartney fan, I think you will be pleased and surprised with what you hear on this CD.
Peter Canavan

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

36 of 38 people found the following review helpful By Jim Owen on December 6, 1999
Format: Audio CD
After the hugely disappointing Liverpool Oratorio and moderately disappointing Standing Stone, this is the first McCartney classical CD worth investing in.
Most surprisingly, the best tracks are the three longer orchestral pieces. Tunick's and Bennett's orchestrations of these works are appropriately lush, and the pieces are unabashedly romantic and gorgeous. Like Standing Stone, they sound very much like John Williams film scores, but gone are Standing Stone's self-conscious pretensions of being "modern", as Paul relaxes and revels in what he does best.
The string quartet pieces are less successful, though still nice. The familiar tunes (My Love, Maybe I'm Amazed, Junk) are lovely as ever, but don't add much to the originals, being pretty faithful transcriptions rather than departure points for new music. Most obviously unfinished is his way-too-short setting of the charming "She's My Baby", a wonderful, criminally neglected tune that a quartet arrangement could have (should have) gone to town with. Gershwin's endlessly inventive piano take-offs of his hit tunes come to mind as examples of a composer who took his own hit tunes and did something fresh with them. That said, I was pleased with Paul's choice of tunes to set, though, as they all rank among my favorites of his.
Least successful are his two original quartet pieces, Haymakers and Midwife, the former almost completely devoid of ideas.
All in all, expect charming, tuneful, romantic, occasionally familiar. After the first two classical CD's of McCartney's, I was insisting he give it up and go back to rock music, but happily, I can now start to look forward to more of this shamelessly pretty music!
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Peter Canavan on January 15, 2000
Format: Audio CD
I'll tell you something interesting about this CD. I started listening to it while I worked on my computer. I was familiar with some of the songs in a different form. All of a sudden, I felt very relaxed! I mean, I felt a real sense of relaxation that was significantly different from how I was feeling before! I think these songs are complex, subtle, and I find I like them more the more I listen to them. If you are a McCartney fan, I think you will be pleased and surprised with what you hear on this CD.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By wtdk@aol.com on December 12, 1999
Format: Audio CD
There's a lot of McCartney's music that is perfectly suited to classical interpretation. What is here of the older material isn't radically different than the originals although still pleasant. The new compositons, particularly A Leaf, Haymakers and Tuesday all show McCartney's growth as a composer.
I didn't feel that Standing Stone was a disappointment (nor Liverpool Ortario). They were just departures to new destinations for McCartney. While the promise at these destinations weren't completely fulfilled, they had their moments.
This is a fine display for McCartney's writing skills and well worth the investment.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Justin D. Davis on November 25, 1999
Format: Audio CD
I bought this album shortly after it came out and shortly after buying "Run Devil Run" which I thought was very good and being a big Paul fan I thought I'd give this a chance. I had never heard any of Paul's classical ventures before and I found this to be incredible. All of the songs he wrote before and then scored for a string quartet sound wonderful. The three orchastrated pieces are incredible also. I haven't listened to the others quite as much, but "A Leaf" is supreme. Buy this if you are a fan of Paul, Classical music, or preferrably, both.
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Tom on February 25, 2000
Format: Audio CD
The curious thing about this CD is how so many people, including myself, started out with low expectations only to be pleasantly surprised by this work's staying power. While these pieces may be simplistic compared to classical composers, so what? McCartney isn't exactly without gifts. Few composers this century of any variety possess his way with melody, but, that being said, there is more than just pretty tunes here. While the works seem to have been written as a kind of homage to Linda, there is nothing maudlin about the arrangements. Nor is there much of the bombast and over-reaching that marred McCartney's previous forays into serious music. The music possesses a gentle, even reserved, melancholy some of the time, and a sort of sober whimsy at other times. While I think this is a great artist at some distance dealing with a great loss, a listener doesn't need to know anything about the context to appreciate the musical achievement here.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By William Ng on November 7, 1999
Format: Audio CD
McCartney always has "classical" in mind, no matter what he's writing at the time, or so it seems. Otherwise, how do you explain how well his pop/rock pieces translate?
Perhaps I'm biased, maybe I'm amazed, maybe I've gotten used to the well-known pieces, but having listened to it a few times, I find the less known pieces to be even more spectacular.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Bernard Webb on November 19, 2006
Format: Audio CD
Confused recent reviews have argued about whether this is classical or MUZAK. Whatever you want to call the form, the music itself is brilliant and inspired. We would not give two shakes about these tunes that are in some cases thirty-six years old if they had no draw to our hearts and no merit. This album would have been released and forgotten and that definitely has not happened.

I have just listened to the broadcast of Paul's most recent classical work Ecce Cor Meum from Carnegie Hall in New York (Nov. 14, 2006) and prior to the main piece, the soprano Kate Royal and another vocalist sang these songs accompanied by the same quartet that appears on Working Classical. It was essentially a live version of this album with vocals and it was brilliant as is the original Working Classical CD. My Love, Warm and Beautiful, Calico Skies and Junk come off as extraordinarily brillant as they do on this recording. These songs, whether in this form or closer to their original form, will live forever and no amount of "orchestration" can kill them.

The same reviewer wrote: "it is a sign of the decline of serious culture that so many people actually believe that this MUZAK is classical music". How pompous some classical music fans are that they cannot conceive of any important music being written in modern times. Another reviewer wrote: "an orchestrated pop song is still a pop song". Perhaps, but that is not a fatal critcism that would obviate the joy these melodies give and emotions they hold. On the contrary, this is not elevator music. Elevator music is not compelling, its not memorble and its not written by a genius named Paul McCartney.
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