Paul McCartney and the London Symphony Orchestra- Standing Stone (1997)

History: Richard Lyttleton at EMI reached out to Paul to have him compose something for EMI’s 100th anniversary. This time around Paul was able to use computer software to compose the music of all the various instruments to give to the actual musicians to play. Dave Matthews (not that one), John Harle, and Richard Rodney Bennett all provided input to help Paul with some of the aspects of classical music he wasn’t as familiar with, but this one was definitely all his composition.

My own personal history and initial prediction: At this point I’m mostly just hoping this is better than his oratorio. The fact that it’s not operatic makes it a plus already.

Review: As I’ve mentioned before, these reviews are a little harder for me because I feel like I’m completely outside my wheelhouse. The fact that this is more classical than opera does help it a lot for me personally. The chorus is present, but they’re primarily being used as just another instrument, only occasionally singing words and mostly just providing mood in their own way. I really had to search this time to find something closer to Paul’s trademark melodies, as he seemed to be taking the classical aspects to heart and really going more for that style than anything like he has done before.

There is a story behind the music, originally based on a poem Paul wrote about a Celtic man who goes on a journey and places a standing stone where he lands, and apparently even fights off invaders at some point. I wasn’t able to locate a copy of the poem, and Paul insists that you should be able to get the story through the music. I’m afraid that beyond the track “Lost at Sea” which did really sound like a perilous situation with a roiling storm going on, I honestly didn’t pick up much else. It mostly just all sounds like lovely, peaceful music to me.

I honestly don’t know how they compare in size but I will say I preferred this performance over the Liverpool Symphony Orchestra. Of course it could also be a jump forward in recording technology that allowed them to come through clearer and richer as well. Add that to the lack of clear vocals and this one is far more likely to be added to the list of music to listen to while reading or studying, or even better to give me something to help me relax and maybe even fall asleep. It wasn’t a standout performance in the genre, but it was a pleasant listen and in the right mood I wouldn’t turn it down again.

Next Time: Ringo returns with Vertical Man.

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