2(II=picc).2.2.2 - 2200 - timp(=susp.cym ad lib) - perc(1/2): glsp/SD/tgl/susp.cym - pno(=cel) - harp - strings
Paul McCartney (orchestrated by Jonathan Tunick)
In addition to his large-scale orchestral and choral work Standing Stone, Paul McCartney wrote three shorter orchestral pieces during the 1990’s for his album Working Classical: A Leaf, Spiral and Tuesday. All three are gentle (for the most part), impressionistic mood-pictures: they belong to an English pastoral tradition that includes Delius’ Summer Night on the River and Butterworth’s A Shropshire Lad. It is no coincidence that McCartney is also a painter, and that has he lived for many years in the country: the city ethos of his upbringing, which informed most of his songs for the Beatles, has largely been superseded by a strong feeling for rural landscape, and its evocation in music.
Both A Leaf and Spiral were originally conceived as piano pieces and composed shortly after the premiere of the Liverpool Oratorio in 1991. A Leaf, like the later Tuesday, begins with an extended melodic section in moderate tempo, followed by a series of linked episodes. Although these episodes are not strictly variations, they are unified by the presence of a falling or rising scale motive, so that there is a remarkable feeling of continuity throughout the piece. Occasionally there is a hint of blues harmony, and two sections are fast and energetic, both of them prominently featuring the piano.
© David Matthews