Liverpool Oratorio

Paul McCartney

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Liverpool Oratorio Review

by William Ruhlmann

Paul McCartney was commissioned by the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra to compose a work to mark its 150th anniversary and collaborated with composer/conductor Carl Davis on this 90-minute classical piece, which features soloists Kiri Te Kanawa and Jerry Hadley in a vaguely autobiographical story of a Liverpudlian named Shanty. While ambitious for an untaught musician like McCartney, the assignment didn't inspire him to any heights of melodic or lyrical achievement. In both areas, the piece plods, suggesting that McCartney hasn't so much taken on the unfamiliar form as surrendered to it. Maybe be should have worked with George Martin (who scored "Yesterday" and "Eleanor Rigby") instead.