After tackling two lengthy works in the Liverpool Oratorio and Standing Stone, Paul McCartney works in much smaller form on the pieces in his third album of classical music, Working Classical. The album consists of three compositions performed by the London Symphony Orchestra that run 10-12 minutes each, plus 11 short selections performed by the Loma Mar Quartet, some of which are versions of his pop songs. Of course, McCartney is more accustomed to writing short compositions, and even the three orchestral pieces seem more tightly organized than the earlier, longer works. "A Leaf" and "Spiral" both began as works for the piano but have been opened out in orchestrations by Jonathan Tunick and Richard Rodney Bennett, respectively. "Tuesday," by contrast, was written as the score for a short, animated children's film, and it retains the sense of being program music. The quartet pieces are unfailingly melodic, and the mixture of the pop songs "Junk," "My Love," "Maybe I'm Amazed," "She's My Baby," and "The Lovely Linda" with newer pieces creates a pleasant alternation of the new and the familiar. The chosen songs mostly were written for McCartney's late wife, and the album as a whole has a wistful, delicate sense consistent with the grief associated with her death. This, McCartney's second album after being widowed (following the pop/rock oldies collection Run Devil Run by only two weeks), consists largely of music written prior to the tragedy, but anticipates it and, simultaneously, marks the composer's welcome return from his period of bereavement.
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AllMusic Review by William Ruhlmann