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It isn't clear whether Paul McCartney spent more time working on his second oratorio, Ecce Cor Meum ("Behold my heart" in Latin), than any of his other classical efforts, or whether it just took longer. But in "Creating Ecce Cor Meum", the 46-minute documentary that begins this DVD, he describes a 10-plus-year process that included an interruption of two years following death of his wife Linda McCartney when he says he spent most of his time grieving. When he returned to the piece, he wrote the brief section "Interlude (Lament)," which reflected his feelings of loss. Yet Ecce Cor Meum is more an emotional and melodic work than simply a maudlin one. It was commissioned by the president of Magdalen College at Oxford to christen a new concert hall. (McCartney says that he eventually got around to asking what he was to be paid for the commission, and the answer was, nothing!) It was to be primarily a choral work, and so it has become, employing no less than three choirs -- the adult London Voices and two boys' choirs, the Boys of King's College Choir, Cambridge, and the Boys of Magdalen College, Oxford. But there is also a soprano soloist (Kate Royal), and full orchestra. All of these are on display during the documentary, most of which shows footage of the recording sessions at McCartney's old Beatles haunt, Abbey Road in London. Followed by a live performance of the work at the Royal Albert Hall on Nov 3, 2006. As a concert piece, Ecce Cor Meum maintains interest by varying its musical effects, sometimes relying on the massed choir; sometimes on individual instruments, notably the organ (in the final section), the oboe in "Interlude (Lament)," & a piccolo trumpet throughout; sometimes on the soprano; and by being consistently tuneful. The last is really most important. McCartney never leaves behind his chief talent as a songwriter, his ability to come up with melodies,& this work, for all its trappings, relies on a core of strong tunes that have a familiar McCartney sweetness to them.

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