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Movement I - Spiritus
12:00 • Studio version
Movement II - Gratia
10:50 • Studio version
3:57 • Studio version
Movement III - Musica
15:14 • Studio version
Movement IV - Ecce Cor Meum
14:50 • Studio version
Paul’s fourth classical album, Ecce Cor Meum (“Behold My Heart”) is an oratorio in four movements, scored for choir and orchestra. The album’s origin lay in a commission from Magdalen College, Oxford: Paul was asked to compose a piece for the opening of a new concert hall at the college. Following Linda’s death in 1998, however, the performance was delayed, eventually premiering in 2001, with a studio recording taking place in 2006. Each of its four movements begins with unaccompanied voices, and the text combines both English and to a lesser degree, Latin. As Paul explained, “Something I found out later, being a complete innocent in the field, was that most people find a text and set it to music, which it would have been very convenient to know that, but I didn’t. So I started writing the music and then putting my own text to it, which is probably completely the wrong way around to do it. It didn’t matter. I suppose, you know, in that respect, it meant that it was a bit less conventional.”
Ecce Cor Meum (Latin for Behold My Heart) is the fourth classical album by Paul McCartney. The album was released on 25 September 2006 by EMI Classics. An oratorio in four movements, it is produced by John Fraser, written in Latin and English, and scored for orchestra and boys and adult choir. The oratorio was partly inspired by Sir Paul’s wife Linda. lt is also the only classical album by McCartney that was not released on vinyl.
The title was inspired by the inscription McCartney noticed above a statue of Jesus in St. Ignatius Church, New York City. The reference in the church context is to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, although McCartney freely adapted the text for use in his composition. Upon Sir Paul’s grant of arms, he adopted “ECCE COR MEUM” as his motto.
Ecce Cor Meum had been more than eight years in the making and its origins follow in the tradition of composers commissioned to write music for Magdalen College, Oxford. Sir Paul was invited by Anthony Smith (President of Magdalen College 1998–2005) to compose something to set the seal on a new concert hall for the college.
The composition was delayed by the death of Sir Paul’s wife, and could not be used for the opening of the new auditorium (which was celebrated instead by a premiere of Tony Harrison’s verse film, “Prometheus“). The project did not die: with encouragement from the then Oxford University Music Society president and perseverance by the College itself, the work was finished and eventually performed in the Sheldonian Theatre, Oxford, in November 2001.
Originally, it was presented in 2001 with the full Choir of Magdalen College, Oxford, conducted by Bill Ives, in the Sheldonian Theatre, Oxford. Sir Paul McCartney expressed in the programme his hope “that this piece will carry the name of Magdalen to all parts of the globe and help to make people aware of the noble institution that it is“.
Produced by John Fraser, Ecce Cor Meum was recorded at Abbey Road Studios between 13 and 17 March 2006. It was performed by soprano Kate Royal, the boys of Magdalen College Choir, Oxford, the boys of the Choir of King’s College, Cambridge, London Voices and the Academy of St Martin in the Fields, conducted by Gavin Greenaway.
Its American première was 14 November 2006 at a sold-out Carnegie Hall in New York City. Scored for choir and orchestra, the Orchestra of St. Luke’s under Gavin Greenaway joined the Concert Chorale of New York and the American Boychoir, with soprano Kate Royal and Andrew Staples as soloists. The concert was simulcast over WNYC-FM, New York Public Radio and webcast over wnyc.org.
The Canadian première took place on 27 October 2007 at Metropolitan United Church in London, Ontario. Conducted by Toronto conductor Robert Cooper, it was performed by the combined forces of the Orpheus Choir of Toronto, Chorus Niagara, London Pro Musica, the Amabile Treble Choir and Orchestra London.
On 3 May 2007, Paul McCartney was presented with the Best Album Award at the Classical Brits for Ecce Cor Meum, at the Royal Albert Hall. The award was voted for by readers of Classic FM magazine and listeners of Classic FM. The album reached number 2 in the Top Classical Albums charts from the US
Last updated on April 28, 2017