Timeline More from year 2011
UK release date:
Oct 03, 2011
US release date:
Oct 04, 2011
Publisher:
Decca (UK)

Related sessions

This album has been recorded during the following studio sessions


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Track list

Disc 1


1.

Movement 1 - Ocean's Kingdom

Written by Paul McCartney

14:07 • Studio versionA

Paul McCartney :
Arrangements, Executive producer
John Fraser :
Producer
John Wilson :
Arrangements, Conductor
London Classical Orchestra :
Orchestra
Andrew Cottee :
Orchestration
Philip Hobbs :
Mixing engineer, Recording engineer

Session Recording:
June 2011 ?
Studio :
Henry Wood Hall, London, UK


2.

Movement 2 - Hall of Dance

Written by Paul McCartney

16:19 • Studio versionA

Paul McCartney :
Arrangements, Executive producer
John Fraser :
Producer
John Wilson :
Arrangements, Conductor
London Classical Orchestra :
Orchestra
Andrew Cottee :
Orchestration
Philip Hobbs :
Mixing engineer, Recording engineer

Session Recording:
June 2011 ?
Studio :
Henry Wood Hall, London, UK


3.

Movement 3 - Imprisonment

Written by Paul McCartney

13:37 • Studio versionA

Paul McCartney :
Arrangements, Executive producer
John Fraser :
Producer
John Wilson :
Arrangements, Conductor
London Classical Orchestra :
Orchestra
Andrew Cottee :
Orchestration
Philip Hobbs :
Mixing engineer, Recording engineer

Session Recording:
June 2011 ?
Studio :
Henry Wood Hall, London, UK


4.

Movement 4 - Moonrise

Written by Paul McCartney

12:31 • Studio versionA

Paul McCartney :
Arrangements, Executive producer
John Fraser :
Producer
John Wilson :
Arrangements, Conductor
London Classical Orchestra :
Orchestra
Andrew Cottee :
Orchestration
Philip Hobbs :
Mixing engineer, Recording engineer

Session Recording:
June 2011 ?
Studio :
Henry Wood Hall, London, UK

Disc 2





About

From Wikipedia:

Ocean’s Kingdom is the fifth classical album by Paul McCartney. It is the score from the same-titled ballet, commissioned by the New York City Ballet. It was performed by the London Classical Orchestra and conducted by John Wilson.The ballet tells of a love story based in two fantastic worlds – the “pure” ocean kingdom, and the Earth kingdom with its “sort of baddies” who threaten the underwater way of life. According to McCartney, love happens when earth meets water, and “you’ll have to see whether the couple make it”. His score for the ballet consists of four orchestral movements. The album was released on CD and vinyl,

Available through iTunes and as a digital download with the code card included in the CD and LP, it contains the studio & live versions of the four movements. The live tracks are from the world première on 21 September 2011, as performed by the New York City Ballet Orchestra & conducted by Fayçal Karoui.

From paulmccartney.com, Sepember 7, 2011:

Marking his first foray into the word of dance, Paul has announced the general release of  ‘Ocean’s Kingdom’, commissioned by the New York City Ballet. The recording will be released by Decca Records on October 3rd (UK) and Hear Music/Telarc on October 4th (US) and is conducted by John Wilson, produced by John Fraser and performed by The London Classical Orchestra.

‘Ocean’s Kingdom’ is the first time Paul has written an original orchestral score or any kind of music for dance and is the result of a collaboration between Paul and New York City Ballet’s Master in Chief Peter Martins, who have worked together to present the world premiere of a new ballet for the company’s 2011/2012 season this September.

Though the work is Paul’s first ballet, he approached the project in the same way he writes all other music, driven by his heart rather than his head and inspired by feeling rather than specific technical knowledge. While this may have been another new turn for his staggeringly varied career to take, Paul knew it had to be influenced by his own personal experience and that he needed to create a story the audience would find equally compelling and moving.

Paul’s first step was to visit the Royal Opera House to see Adolphe Adam’s ‘Giselle’, danced by the Royal Ballet. Afterwards, Paul met the dancers and discussed the work with them, realising as he did so that he was still without a central theme to his work. Keen to tell a story through his music, Paul decided to focus on the purity of the ocean and within just two months, the first draft had been completed. He then went through the music again thinking specifically of the ballet itself, thereby creating a world featuring distinctive characters and a vibrant underworld kingdom. Finally, Paul spent many more weeks working alongside Peter Martins to refine the work, before Peter created the choreography with the NYCB dancers.

An hour long score featuring four stunning movements ‘Ocean’s Kingdom’, Hall of Dance, Imprisonment and Moonrise, the ballet tells of a love story within the story of an underwater world whose people are threatened by the humans of Earth. A potently expressive and richly varied work, the score is Paul’s most challenging and emotionally complex yet. As he explains: ‘What was interesting was writing music that meant something expressively rather than just writing a song. Trying to write something that expressed an emotion, so you have fear, love, anger, sadness to play with and I found that exciting and challenging.’

The premiere of the ballet ‘Ocean’s Kingdom’ will take place at NYCB’s Fall Gala on Thursday 22nd September 2011 while the
release of the orchestral score will follow a month later, available digitally, on CD and on vinyl.  It was recorded in June in London.

The artwork that accompanies the release is equally striking and inventive. Though it seems to suggest a city skyline, it is actually a digital readout of the notes from the ballet score.

From paulmccartney.com, October 13, 2011:

Massive congratulations to Paul. ‘Ocean’s Kingdom’ has topped the Classical Charts and reached the number one spot in the US and number two in the UK. Special thanks to everyone who made this happen and supported the project. […]

Paul said: “I’m really pleased with the news that the Ocean’s Kingdom ballet music has gone to the top of the charts. It was a really exciting project and this is the ultimate pay off”. […]

The second disc was available as an audio download, “an exclusive live recording of the World Premiere Gala Performance in New York by the New York City Ballet Orchestra“.

Official video – Ocean’s Kingdom – Preview

Official video – Ocean’s Kingdom

Ocean’s Kingdom – Rehearsals and Opening Night

Ocean’s Kingdom – Follow The Oboe Along With Paul’s Notes (In Red)

Review from The New-York Times:

Paul McCartney’s first ballet score, “Ocean’s Kingdom,” is in no way an important addition to the corpus of ballet music, but it deserves a better staging than the one it’s been given by New York City Ballet. Never less than agreeable, it has plenty of color and melody. Curiously, it sounds as if it had been composed in the neo-Romantic era before the Beatles: some of its most expansive tunes have hints of Borodin and Samuel Barber; some of its atmospheres evoke Ravel; and its jolliest passages are on the cusp of Bernstein’s “Candide.”

The highlight of Thursday’s gala was the introductory “See the Music …” session, in which the company’s music director, Fayçal Karoui, spoke about the score, playing excerpts to illustrate several different aspects of Mr. McCartney’s composition: the nature of its melodies; the way it transforms a bass figure through orchestral variation into a theme; its creation of intimacy and humor; its rhythmic urgency and heightened suspense; and, finally, its nobility and optimism. These occasional “See the Music …” features are a recent development at City Ballet, and a number of the audience members resist them. Yet Thursday’s led us into Mr. McCartney’s music as Peter Martins’s choreography never did. […]

From The Guardian:

Back in February when Paul McCartney announced he had written his first ballet score, the news attracted more cynicism than excitement. […]
The critics’ response to the ballet, Ocean’s Kingdom, when it premiered last week, widely justified the cynicism.

It was panned in New York as an “over-hyped … expensive fiasco”. Yet the most swingeing attacks were directed at the ballet’s choreography (created by NYCB artistic director, Peter Martins), with mixed reviews going to Stella McCartney’s costumes. […]

And the music itself received some tentative praise, even among New York’s harshest reviewers. Although it was obviously the work of a ballet novice, and obviously derivative of composers such as Ravel, Barber, Tchaikovsky, and Bernstein, McCartney had chosen his influences well.

And more than one critic thought the music deserved a second chance onstage, with better choreography.[…]

But the variety and the interest of the music quickly start to pall. There is a dull overload through the last of the four sections, and you strain to hear something bold or unexpected in the development of the musical ideas.

And what makes Ocean’s Kingdom fall so many millions of miles short of McCartney’s best work is the lack of memorable or arresting melody.

The lyric genius that produced Eleanor Rigby, Fool on the Hill and Hey Jude is nowhere in evidence. And without it, only the most fervent Paul McCartney fan would want to add this ballet score to their collection.

Last updated on October 30, 2020

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