History: Work on this piece began before Linda’s death when Anthony Smith asked Paul to compose something for a new auditorium being built at Magdalen College. Her death sadly meant that the piece could not be used for that purpose, but in time Paul finished the piece and it was initially performed in 2001, with recording done at Abbey Road Studios in 2006. The interlude is a tribute to Linda and the title translates to “Behold My Heart.”
My own personal history and initial prediction: Oh boy, another oratorio. Seeing that this is meant to be a tribute to Linda, I will do my best to listen and try to appreciate it, but I can’t exactly say I’m looking forward to it.
Review: As predicted, I had some issues getting into this one. It’s a pleasant sounding experience, but the use of the soprano vocal and the boys’ choir meant I understood very little of the words being sung. During the first movement I honestly couldn’t tell if the whole thing was being sung in Latin or not. By the second movement I was able to figure out that they were also singing in English, but still not really able to understand the words. For the third movement, “Musica” I was picking up enough bits here and there to realize it was about how important a role music plays in our lives, and for the final movement I clearly understood “music will show you my heart” being used over and over again. But in general it was like watching a foreign language film without any subtitles. And really, that’s not even the best comparison because with a film you could at least read body language, and all I’m getting here is tone, so while I think those last final pieces I understood are probably the most important part of the message, I just wasn’t really connected in any way as I listened to it.
Musically it remains well composed. The first movement had a flute lead and a bass driven (maybe cello? It’s hard to say) counter melody going on that I really liked. There were portions of the vocal melody in the second movement that reminded me very much of his rock vocal melodies. The whole thing was well put together and took what felt like a soothing journey without any jarring sudden changes. I would definitely put this above and beyond the Liverpool Oratorio in terms of being something I’d choose to listen to. But I would probably also choose Standing Stone or Working Classical over this as well, just to not have to be distracted by vocals.
Next Time: Paul continues this productive period with Memory Almost Full.