Paul McCartney’s “Ecce Cor Meum”

EMI's recording of Paul McCartney's new oratorio 'Ecce Cor Meum' to be featured on Classical 101's Musica Sacra(Photo: EMI Classics)
EMI's recording of Paul McCartney's new oratorio 'Ecce Cor Meum' to be featured on Classical 101's Musica Sacra(Photo: EMI Classics)

Thanks to our music director, Beverley Ervine, we have a magnificent CD library from which Classical 101 draws most of its programming. I find it relaxing to wander through the stacks with no set goal,  just looking for music and performances new to me. It’s time well spent.

Now, when I saw there was a second oratorio by Sir Paul McCartney, I’m sure people could hear my eyes rolling in Cleveland and points north, west, east and south. Is this another Charlotte Church fraud? A sad put-on similar to David (“Shine”) Helfgott?  No.

McCartney’s Ecce cor meum was commissioned by Magdalen College, Oxford. Sir Paul was asked for “a “work young people could sing”. Ecce cor meum is just that. It calls for a large mixed chorus, two children’s choirs , large orchestra, organ and soprano solo. The text is by McCartney, who was inspired by St. Francis of Assisi. I take seriously any music/lyrics by the composer of Penny Lane and Strawberry Fields. Never mind most of the Beatles’ catalog, songs that after forty years  still are the conversation in pop music.

Ecce cor meum. Behold My Heart. You don’t have to throw away your recordings of the Bach’s b minor mass. You don’t have to turn your nose up at this new work either, as I would have done. McCartney’s choral writing is simple, eloquent and sincere. I hope young people do sing this work. They probably don’t know McCartney’s name at all (can you imagine?), but just think-the former Beatle could lead ‘em to , well, to the b minor mass.  Bravo!

Musica Sacra presents two selections from Ecce Cor Meum Sunday,  September 4 at 8 PM on Classical 101.

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