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Paul McCartney's Standing Stone

3.5 out of 5 stars 39 customer reviews

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Audio CD, September 23, 1997
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Editorial Reviews

Paul McCartney and Wings Standing Stone UK CD album

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Fire - Rain
  2. Cell Growth
  3. Human Theme
  4. Meditation
  5. Crystal Ship
  6. Sea Voyage
  7. Lost At Sea
  8. Release
  9. Safe Haven - Standing Stone
  10. Peaceful Moment
  11. Messenger
  12. Lament
  13. Trance
  14. Eclipse
  15. Glory Tales
  16. Fugal Celebration
  17. Rustic Dance
  18. Love Duet
  19. Celebration


Product Details

  • Orchestra: London Symphony Orchestra
  • Conductor: Lawrence Foster
  • Composer: Paul McCartney
  • Audio CD (September 23, 1997)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: EMI Classics
  • ASIN: B000002RZ7
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (39 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #52,884 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By C. Cleveland on February 5, 2003
Format: Audio CD
If music were only a form of high-level mathmatical play, or if it were a game with set rules, the violation of which should and would disqualify you from play, then the task of music critics would be easy. But there are no rules, as far as I can tell: there is only taste in the kind of sounds you can make and call music. What music is actually about is emotion--music is about moving your audience, about touching one or a combination of the spectrum of human emotions. And Paul McCartney has been doing that since he finished the melody to When I'm Sixty-four at the age of sixteen.
Now, the form of Standing Stone is a symphonic, or orchestral poem. That means that the music is meant to tell a story, and to me it does. I had been listening to the music in fascination and admiration for at least six months before I read the poem the composer provides to tell the story in another form. The Standing Stone Poem is great fun--you can feel the author relishing the musical qualities of the language as he plays it like an instrument to tell his tale. The tale is about the dawn of everything, including human beings, it is about adventure, peril, triumph, and the joy and serenity that follow bloodless but real victory. The various sections of Standing Stone are chapters in a story told in orchestral and wordless vocal sound until the last section, Celebration, which includes a song with words.
So, I sugggest that formal training in music has nothing to do with the quality of a piece of music. Some musicians got together one day and invented rock 'n roll, and they did not have to present diplomas from Juilliard to do it. The symphonic form or lack thereof has nothing to do with the quality of a piece.
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Format: Audio CD
Standing Stone is a tremendously focused piece of work, and what it's focused on is the story it has to tell. That story is told in another form in the Standing Stone Poem, an original epic tale marked by a very distinctive tone that combines narrative compression with verbal gusto. One can almost see McCartney up to his elbows in adjectives, throwing them into a bubbling pot on the stove with glee in his eye, and serving the resulting dish to his guests with several flourishes. And this image captures, for me, something of the experience of listening to the music as well. But it is not necessary to read the poem first-- I had been listening to the music in fascination for at least six months before I read the poem. The music itself is action packed and adventure filled, and communicates itself with no wasted gestures. Every note, theme, tempo change, and instrumental color has a purpose, and conveys emotional images which progress from chaos through a magical journey which ends in a resolution which has nothing to do with rest, but with traveling onward in a transformed state. It is a journey through high adventure to a state of wisdom. The theme of the work is how the human capacities for wonder, curiosity, and perseverance can win triumph from the forces of darkness. It is about how victory can be achieved by wits, and courage, and good timing, rather than swords and gore. It is also about what the prize for victory is--about love in peace. McCartney has always been naive in the best sense of the word--neither ignorant nor cynical, but open to experience, willing to be affected. That naivete, combined with his considerable musical ingenuity and exuberance, have produced a series of musical scenes painted with equal delicacy and power, and united by haunting melodies and a strong narrative drive. I have really never heard anything quite like it before, and recommend it to your attention.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
The included booklet mentions how much McCartney loves experimenting with new musical styles and techniques; this performance continues that tradition fantastically.

The pieces is not 'typical' McCartney; there is no overbearing theme as you might expect in a typical symphony or rock piece. Instead, this album is pure creativity. It's described as a tone poem - a classification I agree with. It starts with a chaotic string performance, not unlike many modern compositions. I urge listeners to not turn away upon hearing this, however - the later movements move into much broader themes and tones, and at the risk of offending some fans of modern music, I'll say straight-out that after the first track the piece becomes infinitely more musical.

McCartney and the LSO put an amazing amount of life into this piece. It attempts to tackle a huge scope - creation, exploration, peril, victory, love - and, for the most part, I would say it succeeds. There is such a wide variety of emotion and subtle points in this piece that it's impossible to take it all in in one listen. That same diverse array, however, makes it a thrilling piece to listen to repeatedly. I highly recommend this album.
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Format: Audio CD
Uneven, Yes absolutely
Childish in places, also guilty..
I don't know if McCartney meant the work in part as a musical autobiography of his growth into the classical field. The first time through, I thought he was letting us take his journey with him has he experimented with the different sounds of the orchestra, gradually finding his way and finally merging them into a wonderful finale. It wasn't until after two weeks of ridding around listening to the CD that I was able to read the liner. McCartney says he was showing the evolution of man. The parallel is stunning.
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