Previous posts in this discussion:
PostRe: Magdalen College and Sir Paul McCartney (Ronald Hilton, US) (John Eipper, USA, 10/03/06 9:25 am)
I wrote: I was pleased and surprised to see the name of WAISer Anthony Smith in an AP dispatch published in the San Francisco Chronicle. /He was president of Magdalen College, Oxford, from 1998 to 2005. He commissioned Sir Paul McCartney to write "Ecce Cor Meum" (Behold my heart) to celebrate the opening of the College's new concert hall. It was performed at the Royal Albert Hall, with the participation of the choirs of Magdalen College and King's College, Cambridge.
Anthony comments:This piece of music goes back many years, when we were planning the opening of a small new auditorium at Magdalen. Paul and his wife Linda visited after I had invited him to consider writing an oratorio to mark the opening. Unfortunately Linda died a few months later, but her death had the long term effect of persuading Paul to write a long piece of music in her memory. By the time the work was completed, his marriage with Heather Mills was imminent, and she accompanied Paul to the rehearsals and the two performances which were undertaken at Oxford (NOT the Royal Albert Hall). Now, as you know, his marriage to Heather has come to an end, but he has completed the final version of this work "Ecce Cor Meum", which is partly in Latin (translation by Magdalen's Latin expert) and partly in English. "Ecce Cor Meum" is in fact the fourth long eligious work which Paul has undertaken over the last decade. There was the "Liverpool Requiem" and a wonderfully atmospheric work called "Standing Stone" which were the first in this genre of work. "Ecce Cor Meum" in its original 'trial' version of the 1990's was composed for Magdalen's student Choir alone, but this final version is performed on the CD by a choir of about 150 voices including the choristers of both Magdalen, Oxford and King's, Cambridge, plus many other professional singers and an enormous orchestra. It is now to have a live performance at the Royal Albert Hall in London (which seats around 4,000 people) on November 2nd. I am glad that something I inaugurated a decade ago is reaching such a public apotheosis.
The publicity for the new recording has been extensive, in every corner of the globe, it seems. Such is the reach of an ex-Beatle. Paul of course has had musical training (he has been a singer and composer for forty years!) He does not tend to write or read music but, like many composers today, uses various IT devices to work out his compositions. You will surely recall the melodies he wrote in the 1960s, as moving and as historically durable as any folk music of earlier centuries. Music critics of the time compared his songs with those of Schubert (rightly, I believe) and I am thrilled that "Ecce Cor Meum" contains some typicallly MacCartneyesque melodies. I do not know how the mainstream music critics will evaluate this piece and I have not yet heard the final version myself.
RH: Anthony has every right to be pleased and proud. I still have questions. Is Paul a Catholic? I visited Liverpool when I sailed on the "Samaria" to the US. I was struck ny the large Irish Catholic colony in Liverpool. How did Anthony come to know him? He speaks of IT devices. At Stanford there is a large
center for music, science and technology. At first the idea of IT music shocked me, burt now I am completely won over.
Ronald Hilton: For information about the World Association of International Studies (WAIS), and its online publication, the World Affairs Report, read its homepage by simply double-clicking on : http://wais.stanford.edu/