Liverpool-born pop-music legend and composer Sir Paul McCartney turned 80 on 18 June. Best-known for his genre-defining work with the Beatles, and as part of the one of greatest song writing partnerships in rock and roll history, McCartney has also established himself as a widely-performed composer of classical music. His works in that genre – which range from large-scale choral and orchestral pieces to chamber works – have been published by Faber Music for over thirty years.
His first association with Faber Music was McCartney’s Liverpool Oratorio (1990), devised with composer Carl Davis. It was McCartney’s first foray into the classical idiom, and has proven one of his most successful works, with 230 performances to date. The text for the 95-minute work is McCartney’s own and evokes his years growing up in the city and the hold it has on his imagination; it was commissioned and first performed by the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra and Chorus in Liverpool Cathedral, with a starry line-up of soloists including Sir Willard White, Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, Jerry Hadley, and Sally Burgess.
Another large-scale choral and orchestral work that has defined McCartney’s work as a classical composer is Ecce Cor Meum, a four-movement oratorio, whose world premiere was given by the choir of Magdalen College, Oxford, the Choir of King’s College, Cambridge, London Voices, and the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields at the Royal Albert Hall in 2006; its US premiere took place at Carnegie Hall the same year. The 57-minute piece has been performed by amateur and professional ensembles across the world more than 70 times; it was recorded by EMI, one of six albums featuring McCartney’s classical output. It won McCartney the 2007 Classical BRIT award for Album of the Year.
Faber Music will be publishing McCartney’s 2011 ballet score Ocean Kingdom. The piece was commissioned by the New York City Ballet, to a scenario of McCartney's own devising, and has been recorded on Decca and Hear Music/Telarc with the London Classical Orchestra conducted by John Wilson. A new 13-minute live film version of McCartney’s 1984 hit Rupert and the Frog Song is also newly available, which features video projections, three actors, recorded sound, chorus, and full orchestra.
Click here for a complete list of McCartney works available from Faber Music.