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Liverpool Oratorio

Post 1

You can call me TC

We went to a performance of this last night.

It is not much of an oratorio really, except that it is sung by a choir and soloists, but it's not based on a biblical text.

It was written by Paul McCartney, and is a story of a boy of about the same generation as him, born in 1942, a drop-out and general good-for-nothing, who has a few spiritual experiences and marries a girl who seems to have connections with the "other side". He drinks, she gets pregnant, they argue, she runs off, nearly gets run over and when she does recover (thanks to the spirits from the "other side") they pull themselves together and head into the sunset for a happy end.

It would make a nice ballet, but I can't see it performed as an opera (although they make operas of anything these days). Anything would be better than men in suits and ties singing the words of these down-to-earth people.

Can't fault the performance, but I've never heard the work before, so nothing to compare it with. The part of the boy's choir was taken by the chamber choir of a local girls school - they were the best when it came to understanding what they were saying.

The music didn't sound very English - more American, with touches of Gershwin and Copland, if anything, especially the use of brass and percussion.

When the project started back in the Spring, I would have joined the choir to sing along, but 30 September was marked in my diary as a date for the choir I sing in, so I couldn't. As it turned out, the date was then cancelled (long story, no need to go into that here) and I could have sung with them all along. However, the choir didn't have all that much to do, and so I didn't miss much.

This was a one-off performance, and when I asked if there were programmes, I was told, sorry, no, and given a sheet of paper with a synopsis and a commentary on.

Apparently, they had prepared a 40-page programme which included the whole libretto and much more information, but the printers didn't have it ready on time. So much for German efficiency.

At least my father went to his grave still under the impression that the Germans were hard-working and efficient.

And, as usual, there seemed to be people there who had spent an awful lot of money to sit and cough and sneeze. Can't understand why they don't stay at home and do that. It would be much cheaper for them and not spoil the evening for others who had spent equally great amounts of money. Behind us there was a woman (from her conversation, she seemed to be an experienced concert-goer, possibly even a critic for some local publication) with a bevy of young girls who had obviously never been to a concert before. They spent much of the time talking and giggling, and she had to explain a lot of things to them "They're only tuning up - it hasn't started yet".

Liverpool Oratorio

Post 2

paulh, not fond of Lord Mudpants

I heard "Liverpool oratorio" when it first came out.

"Where's my dinner?" isn't the greatest lyric to set to music. Musically, there are some nice touches.

I respect Paul McCartney as a multi-talented person. He didn't let himself get pigeonholed. All the more power to him.

If "Liverpool Oratorio" is getting performed now and then, that's fine too. That's how a work gradually becomes part of the standard repertoire. Or maybe it won't become a standard. It was a one-off.

Liverpool Oratorio

Post 3


Did Macca write the lyrics himself? Must have, but the wiki article and the official publicity doesn't say. Couldn't be anyone else I suppose.

Liverpool Oratorio

Post 4

paulh, not fond of Lord Mudpants

Here'sa website that features McCartney lyrics. "Liverpool Oratorio" is prominent there

Carl Davis is listed as the only other collaborator. I don't know what his input was.

Liverpool Oratorio

Post 5

You can call me TC

From the programme notes he is a film composer so I doubt he will be claiming credit for "where's my dinner".

Liverpool Oratorio

Post 6


I gather Carl Davis helped with the orchestration and probably did the entire job of notation.

Fascinating \what-if' question: Paul McCartney says in his publicity that he wanted to get his own back on Liverpool Cathedral for turning him down at the age of 11 when he auditioned as a choirboy.

What if he had passed the audition? He would have learned staff notation. Would he have had a career in classical music? I've always fantasised that if Elvis had been continental European he would have sung opera.

Staff notation would not have helped the Beatles at all, I suspect. Yet it didn't hinder Louis Armstrong...

Liverpool Oratorio

Post 7

paulh, not fond of Lord Mudpants

Louis Armstrong had to play down his knowledge of staff notation, though.

Elvis singing opera? Well, his singing did improve enormously as he aged. Who knows?

I think Paul McCartney had the best natural voice of the Beatles. What would it have sounded like with classical voice training>

Liverpool Oratorio

Post 8


I think they missed a promising treble there.

Liverpool Oratorio

Post 9


I'm impressed this is still being performed smiley - smiley It's not my favourite of his classical stuff, but it's good to know people are still enjoying it.


Liverpool Oratorio

Post 10

Gnomon - time to move on

I think McCartney wrote the tunes and Davis arranged them for choir and orchestra.

Liverpool Oratorio

Post 11

paulh, not fond of Lord Mudpants

There's a signature use of trumpet that I always associate with McCartney.

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