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I am really pleasantly surprised by this album. No one should be expecting huge classical scope here. But for what it is -- tuneful, engaging orchestral music designed to drive a storyline in a ballet context -- I found this to be pretty darn good.
McCartney uses the tricks of the trade well. It starts out with a sufficiently watery-sounding opening that vaguely recalls the atmosphere of the underwater opening of Wagner's "Rheingold". Dramatic sequences use the percussion section well -- tympanis and xylophones beat out rhythmically driving, somehow corporate-sounding themes representing the bad guys in the storyline of the ballet.
The ballet itself has an environmental theme about a happy underwater kingdom being invaded by an army of aggressive landlubbers. This represents, of course, mankind's pollution of the seas, as McCartney said in a recent interview I read when the ballet premiered a few days ago.
I came to the album with some skepticism, half expecting it to be clumsy and amateurish. But it's really well done. McCartney brings his outstanding talent for writing tunes to a complex, satisfying work that seems like it would serve its storyline well in the ballet hall. Of course he's not Tchaikovsky or Stravinsky -- the two composers who were held out to him as examples of melody and rhythm when he accepted the commission to write the ballet. But he's Paul McCartney and he found his own way.Read more ›
To start, I'd like to say that I disagree with the reviewer who seems to think that simplicity in music is, by nature, always a fault. I can assure you that it is not. (Also, simplicity needs to be defined before we can argue its merits and disadvantages) Paul has written hundreds of songs for guitar, bass, and piano/keyboard. They are not technically the hardest, most finger-tying, mind-bending parts but do we all still love and adore them? Oh, yes. Paul isn't a good piano player by most standards but his music as a whole makes his supposed lack of technicality irrelevant. Tell me that you don't go around humming "Eleanor Rigby", that you don't enjoy "Too Much Rain", that you don't exalt gems like "Jet" and "Band on the Run" (or my personal favorite from The Firemen, "Sing the Changes." The same goes for this piece, it may not use the full orchestra most of the time, but you don't necessarily need to. It's beautiful anyway.
It lets each instrument speak for itself. You have the trumpets singing and articulating their sound, the flutes at another time dancing around on top, at one point you have what I think is a bassoon or bass clarinet (I'm sorry, I've been out of music for a few years and my ears a bit rusty in this regard) which, every time I hear it, puts a grin on my face. There are some fast paced, running strings as a foundation in quite a few parts and as you'd expect, it gets your heart going.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Most enjoyable EP by probably the best rock artist in modern history; I would say the most everything Sir Paul does is without a doubt interesting, well performed, and solid in the... Read morePublished 17 months ago by Alan R. Dennen
Perhaps the choreography of the ballet was not good but Sir Paul's score is.Published 20 months ago by D. Weulander
Very happy with this recording is this Paul's best no but it's nice to see him experimenting in different types of music
Good for him
Always been a big fan, but Sir Paul is way out of his league with his concert music. Delius deserves apologies for the comparison. This is a very modest effort. Read morePublished on July 29, 2014 by William P. Harmon
Just when you think Paul can't do anymore...there he goes composing for the New York City Ballet. I'm not much for this style of music, but if it's Paul, I've got to have it.Published on January 8, 2014 by Lea Kayson
It sounds a bit like Delius or Kodaly. Unlike your typical classical composer who has to impress conductors with the rhythmic diversity and harmonic unpredictability of his music,... Read morePublished on January 5, 2014 by bob turnley