Liverpool Oratorio

Paul McCartney & Carl Davis
Liverpool Oratorio - Front cover Liverpool Oratorio - Rear Cover
Liverpool Oratorio - Front Cover Liverpool Oratorio - Rear Cover
Liverpool Oratorio - Front cover Liverpool Oratorio - Rear Of Booklet
Liverpool Oratorio (Selections) - Front Cover Liverpool Oratorio (Selections) - Rear of Booklet
Label E.M.I. Classics
Catalogue No. CD PAUL 1 (International number - CDS 7 54371 2)
Release date 7th October 1991
Total time CD1 - 43:15
CD2 - 54:13
U.K. Album Chart Detail : Did NOT Chart ... although, was recorded as No.1 in the Classical chart.
Detail : Paul's twenty-second "solo" release, and his first full classical work.

Recorded live at Liverpool Cathedral 28th and 29th June 1991 in front of 2,500 people each night.
(The London premiere occurs a week later on July 7th at the Royal Festival Hall.)

Personnel :
Composed by Paul McCartney and Carl Davis.
Dame Kiri Te Kanawa
- Soprano
Sally Burgess - Mezzo-Soprano
Jerry Hadley - Tenor
Willard White - Bass
Jeremy Budd - Boy Soloist
Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Choir and Choristers of Liverpool Cathedral
Chorus Master and Master of the Choristers - Ian Tracey
Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra
Conducted by - Carl Davis
First Violin - Malcolm Stewart
Solo Trumpet - Ian Balmain
Solo Cello - Timothy Walden
Cor Anglais - Anna Cooper

Introduction by Paul McCartney
My own special slant on this whole affair was to have tried to learn musical notation at particular intervals in my life but never to have lasted the course. At some point the marks on the page failed to match up to what I was hearing, so eventually I made the music and someone else wrote it down.
Since jumping aboard the music caravan as a teenager at the end of the fifties my journey has been, to say the least, an interesting one. Different musical styles, always emerging, are not what seem to last, but more an overall feeling of "good music". Beatles, Beethoven, Beach Boys, Bach, Hendrix, Handel, Tchaikovsky, The Who: the list is endless and all of them have something in common.
Further down this long and musical road I am excited to have been asked by the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, with Carl Davis, to write something for their celebrations. It's a perfect excuse for me to expand my previous flirtatious excursions into the orchestral and choral works into a full-blown work.

The Making of the Liverpool Oratorio
The Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Society had been thinking of how best to commemorate it's 150th anniversary ... perhaps, it was put to Carl Davis, Paul McCartney might be interested.
Paul was officially commissioned to compose a work and, two years ago, he and Carl sat down for the first of hundreds of hours spent at their homes writing, scoring and re-scoring.
The Liverpool Oratorio deals in part with the story of Paul's life in Liverpool; his birth in the city during wartime, his schooldays, his parents and meeting his wife Linda.
Although Paul has written some 400 recorded songs, he has had no musical training. Carl, however, was schooled in the classical mode. "I prefer to think of my approach to music as primitive", says Paul, "rather like the primitive cave artists, who drew without training. Hopefully the combination of Carl's classical training and my primitivism will result in a beautiful piece of music. That was always my intention."

Here in the U.K. on the 8th October 1991 (the day after it`s release on C.D.) the BBC broadcast a documentary of the making of Liverpool Oratorio which is entitled, "Ghosts Of The Past".
28th October 1991 a video of the premiere is available on PMI home video, and it is this full show which is broadcast nationally on Channel 4 on 14th December 1991.

The double C.D. comes in a thick 2 C.D. case with a very informative 40 page booklet. The booklet contains the information above, and the full track information below all in four languages. It also contains the words of the pieces and colour photographs of the soloists and the event.

Selections From Liverpool Oratorio
A single C.D. version of the Liverpool Oratorio was released one year later in October 1992 which has about 20 minutes edited from it. Clearly, some sections were felt to be impossible to shorten as only 3 movements are curtailed.
"Father" loses 6:07
"Work"  loses 5:17
"Crises" loses 8:34
The booklet also loses 4 pages (and is thinner quality paper !), being only 36 pages long ... the lovely colour photographs of the soloists are missing. There is also no sign of a U.K. catalogue number, only an international number which is CDC 7 54642 2.
I have listed the detail of this release following the full version.

C.D. 1

No. Track The Story Time
Movements I - IV
1 - 5 War 1942. A world at war. Sirens sound as bombs fall over Liverpool and despairing couples shelter underground. Amid the blaze and the chaos of an air raid, a child is born.
And there is hope.
6 -13 School 1953. The war baby - Shanty - now 11 years old and at school, celebrates his Liverpool upbringing. With classmates, he skips lessons to "sag off" and sunbathe in the graveyard of Liverpool Cathedral. Sleeping on a gravestone, he dreams of ghosts of the past and the future. One of the ghosts, Mary Dee, is his bride-to-be. Waking and back at school, Shanty and his classmates are taught Spanish in the form of a folk song by their new mistress, Miss Inkley. 12:13
14-19 Crypt 1959. Shanty, now a confused teenager, goes to a Church dance in the crypt; he doubts his and God's existence. Here, Mary Dee materialises - still dreamlike - to him again. Still he cannot see her. As he sings of his vision of the future, Mary Dee breaks the news that his father has died.
Shanty is left sad and alone.
20-24 Father 1959. As mourners arrive for the funeral, Shanty thinks on his confusion, fears and upset at the death of his father. He reflects and worries about the relationship they had, distressed at his father's mortality. Finally he realises fathers are only human and asks his forgiveness. 11:16

C.D. 2

No. Track The Story Time
Movements V - V111
1 - 3 Wedding A few years later. As Shanty muses on the top of a bus, Mary Dee is drawn to him. She soothes his self-doubts and calms his impatient ambitions and they pledge their love and marry. 8:36
4 -10 Work Mary Dee's office. She runs a hectic business staffed entirely by women. Mary Dee busies among the computers and fax machines, issuing orders as her girls lapse their concentration to fantasize of love. Meanwhile at Shanty's office - where his rank does not match Mary Dee's success - he is cajoled by colleagues to work less and play more. As one colleague, Mr. Dingle, tempts Shanty to slip off to the pub, at home Mary Dee indicates that she is pregnant. 15:02
11-21 Crises Mary Dee sings to the child inside of her, fretting for it's future, Shanty arrives home slightly drunk, short-tempered and demanding dinner. They row over money and Shanty's feelings of inadequacy. Shanty wounds her by doubting her love and Mary Dee storms out - telling him, as she goes, that she is pregnant. In her blind anger and her hurt, she runs in front of a car and is knocked down. In hospital, a nurse wills her to live as - in delirium - Mary Dee sees the ghosts again. She fights to cling on to the life of her baby as the ghosts try to steal it from her. At her bed, Shanty prays, promising to reform if only Mary Dee and the baby are saved. 21:08
22-26 Peace Shanty sings to his new-born child, celebrating the wonder of being. In a sermon, the preacher sings of the frail magic of family life as Mary Dee and Shanty pledge a future with their child, together forever, celebrating a love that will now survive. 9:26

Selections From Paul McCartney's Liverpool Oratorio

Total Time : 77:01

No. Track Time
1 - 5 War 9:40
6 -13 School 12:13
14-19 Crypt 10:04
20-23 Father (abridged) 5:09
24-26 Wedding 8:36
27-32 Work (abridged) 9:45
33-36 Crises (abridged) 12:34
37-41 Peace 9:26

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