The Paul McCartney Project

Working Classical

Timeline See what happened in November 1999
UK release date:
Nov 01, 1999
US release date:
Nov 01, 1999
Publisher:
EMI Classics
Sessions This album has been recorded during the following sessions

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Track list

Disc 1


1.

Junk

Written by Paul McCartney

2:49 • Classical versionC

Paul McCartney:
Executive producer
Eddie Klein:
Engineer
Andy Stein:
Arranger
Keith Smith:
Engineer
Steve Rooke:
Mastering
Krista Bennion Feeney:
First violin
Anca Nicolau:
Second violin
Joanna Hood:
Viola
Myron Lutzke:
Cello
Performed by:
Loma Mar Quartet
John Fraser:
Producer
Arne Akselberg:
Balance engineer
Paul Baily:
Editor
Caroline Haigh:
Editor

Session Recording:
February 21-25th, 1999
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio One, Abbey Road


2.

A Leaf

Written by Paul McCartney

11:08 • Classical versionB

Paul McCartney:
Executive producer
Eddie Klein:
Engineer
Performed by:
London Symphony Orchestra
Keith Smith:
Engineer
Steve Rooke:
Mastering
John Fraser:
Arranger, Producer
Lawrence Foster:
Conductor
Jonathan Tunick:
Orchestration
Arne Akselberg:
Balance engineer
Paul Baily:
Editor
Caroline Haigh:
Editor

Session Recording:
February 21-25th, 1999
Studio:
EMI Studios, Abbey Road


3.

Haymakers

Written by Paul McCartney

3:34 • Classical versionA

Paul McCartney:
Executive producer
Eddie Klein:
Engineer
Keith Smith:
Engineer
Steve Rooke:
Mastering
Krista Bennion Feeney:
First violin
Anca Nicolau:
Second violin
Joanna Hood:
Viola
Myron Lutzke:
Cello
Performed by:
Loma Mar Quartet
John Fraser:
Producer
Arne Akselberg:
Balance engineer
Paul Baily:
Editor
Caroline Haigh:
Editor

Session Recording:
February 21-25th, 1999
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio One, Abbey Road


4.

Midwife

Written by Paul McCartney

3:34 • Classical versionA

Paul McCartney:
Executive producer
Eddie Klein:
Engineer
Keith Smith:
Engineer
Steve Rooke:
Mastering
Krista Bennion Feeney:
First violin
Anca Nicolau:
Second violin
Joanna Hood:
Viola
Myron Lutzke:
Cello
Performed by:
Loma Mar Quartet
John Fraser:
Producer
Arne Akselberg:
Balance engineer
Paul Baily:
Editor
Caroline Haigh:
Editor

Session Recording:
February 21-25th, 1999
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio One, Abbey Road


5.

Spiral

Written by Paul McCartney

10:02 • Classical versionA

Paul McCartney:
Executive producer
Eddie Klein:
Engineer
Performed by:
London Symphony Orchestra
Keith Smith:
Engineer
Steve Rooke:
Mastering
John Fraser:
Arranger, Producer
Lawrence Foster:
Conductor
Richard Rodney Bennett:
Orchestration
Arne Akselberg:
Balance engineer
Paul Baily:
Editor
Caroline Haigh:
Editor

Session Recording:
February 21-25th, 1999
Studio:
EMI Studios, Abbey Road


6.

Warm and Beautiful

Written by Paul McCartney, Linda McCartney

2:32 • Classical versionB

Paul McCartney:
Executive producer
Eddie Klein:
Engineer
Keith Smith:
Engineer
Steve Rooke:
Mastering
Krista Bennion Feeney:
First violin
Anca Nicolau:
Second violin
Joanna Hood:
Viola
Myron Lutzke:
Cello
Performed by:
Loma Mar Quartet
John Fraser:
Producer
Michael Thomas:
Arranger
Arne Akselberg:
Balance engineer
Paul Baily:
Editor
Caroline Haigh:
Editor

Session Recording:
February 21-25th, 1999
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio One, Abbey Road


7.

My Love

Written by Paul McCartney, Linda McCartney

3:48 • Classical versionB

Paul McCartney:
Executive producer
Eddie Klein:
Engineer
Keith Smith:
Engineer
Steve Rooke:
Mastering
Krista Bennion Feeney:
First violin
Anca Nicolau:
Second violin
Joanna Hood:
Viola
Myron Lutzke:
Cello
Performed by:
Loma Mar Quartet
John Fraser:
Producer
Michael Thomas:
Arranger
Arne Akselberg:
Balance engineer
Paul Baily:
Editor
Caroline Haigh:
Editor

Session Recording:
February 21-25th, 1999
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio One, Abbey Road


8.

Maybe I'm Amazed

Written by Paul McCartney

2:04 • Classical versionB

Paul McCartney:
Executive producer
Eddie Klein:
Engineer
Keith Smith:
Engineer
Steve Rooke:
Mastering
Krista Bennion Feeney:
First violin
Anca Nicolau:
Second violin
Joanna Hood:
Viola
Myron Lutzke:
Cello
Loma Mar Quartet:
Arranger
Performed by:
Loma Mar Quartet
John Fraser:
Producer
Roberto Pansera:
Arranger
Arne Akselberg:
Balance engineer
Paul Baily:
Editor
Caroline Haigh:
Editor

Session Recording:
February 21-25th, 1999
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio One, Abbey Road


9.

Calico Skies

Written by Paul McCartney

1:53 • Classical versionB

Paul McCartney:
Executive producer
Eddie Klein:
Engineer
Keith Smith:
Engineer
Steve Rooke:
Mastering
Krista Bennion Feeney:
First violin
Anca Nicolau:
Second violin
Joanna Hood:
Viola
Myron Lutzke:
Cello
Loma Mar Quartet:
Arranger
Performed by:
Loma Mar Quartet
John Fraser:
Producer
Arne Akselberg:
Balance engineer
Paul Baily:
Editor
Caroline Haigh:
Editor

Session Recording:
February 21-25th, 1999
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio One, Abbey Road


10.

Golden Earth Girl

Written by Paul McCartney

1:57 • Classical versionB

Paul McCartney:
Executive producer
Eddie Klein:
Engineer
Keith Smith:
Engineer
Steve Rooke:
Mastering
Krista Bennion Feeney:
First violin
Anca Nicolau:
Second violin
Joanna Hood:
Viola
Myron Lutzke:
Cello
Loma Mar Quartet:
Arranger
Performed by:
Loma Mar Quartet
John Fraser:
Producer
Arne Akselberg:
Balance engineer
Paul Baily:
Editor
Caroline Haigh:
Editor

Session Recording:
February 21-25th, 1999
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio One, Abbey Road


11.

Somedays

Written by Paul McCartney

3:05 • Classical versionB

Paul McCartney:
Executive producer
Eddie Klein:
Engineer
Keith Smith:
Engineer
Steve Rooke:
Mastering
Krista Bennion Feeney:
First violin
Anca Nicolau:
Second violin
Joanna Hood:
Viola
Myron Lutzke:
Cello
Loma Mar Quartet:
Arranger
Performed by:
Loma Mar Quartet
John Fraser:
Producer
Arne Akselberg:
Balance engineer
Paul Baily:
Editor
Caroline Haigh:
Editor

Session Recording:
February 21-25th, 1999
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio One, Abbey Road


12.

Tuesday

Written by Paul McCartney

12:27 • Classical versionA

Paul McCartney:
Executive producer
Eddie Klein:
Engineer
Performed by:
London Symphony Orchestra
Keith Smith:
Engineer
Steve Rooke:
Mastering
John Fraser:
Arranger, Producer
Andrea Quinn:
Conductor
Jonathan Tunick:
Orchestration
Arne Akselberg:
Balance engineer
Paul Baily:
Editor
Caroline Haigh:
Editor

Session Recording:
October 10th-11th 1998
Studio:
EMI Studios, Abbey Road


13.

She's My Baby

Written by Paul McCartney, Linda McCartney

1:47 • Classical versionB

Paul McCartney:
Executive producer
Eddie Klein:
Engineer
Keith Smith:
Engineer
Steve Rooke:
Mastering
Krista Bennion Feeney:
First violin
Anca Nicolau:
Second violin
Joanna Hood:
Viola
Myron Lutzke:
Cello
Loma Mar Quartet:
Arranger
Performed by:
Loma Mar Quartet
John Fraser:
Producer
Arne Akselberg:
Balance engineer
Paul Baily:
Editor
Caroline Haigh:
Editor

Session Recording:
February 21-25th, 1999
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio One, Abbey Road


14.

The Lovely Linda

Written by Paul McCartney

0:55 • Classical versionB

Paul McCartney:
Executive producer
Eddie Klein:
Engineer
Keith Smith:
Engineer
Steve Rooke:
Mastering
Krista Bennion Feeney:
First violin
Anca Nicolau:
Second violin
Joanna Hood:
Viola
Myron Lutzke:
Cello
Performed by:
Loma Mar Quartet
John Fraser:
Producer
Roberto Pansera:
Arranger
Arne Akselberg:
Balance engineer
Paul Baily:
Editor
Caroline Haigh:
Editor

Session Recording:
February 21-25th, 1999
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio One, Abbey Road

About

From paulmccartney.com:

Released just one month after the release of his all-out rock and roll album Run Devil RunWorking Classical was another example of Paul re-contextualising his back catalogue, this time in an orchestral setting. Familiar songs include ‘My Love’ and ‘Maybe I’m Amazed’. But the album also saw Paul introduce some new pieces, such as ‘Spiral’ and ‘Midwife’, working alongside the London Symphony Orchestra and the musicians and arrangers Richard Rodney Bennett and Jonathan Tunick. The wordplay of the album’s title was a way of making clear that despite his lofty ambitions, Paul was still a man of the people and hadn’t forgotten where he came from. Once again, the album was a huge success in the classical charts.

From Wikipedia:

Working Classical is Paul McCartney’s third full-length release of original classical music as a double LP and as a single CD, and was issued less than a month after Run Devil Runs release in 1999.

Background and recording

Following up on 1997’s Standing Stone, the concept behind Working Classical was to place pre-existing (and in some cases, very well known) McCartney songs into an orchestral context. Specially for this project, McCartney also unveiled some new pieces, namely “Haymakers”, “Midwife”, “Spiral” and “Tuesday”. A different performance of “A Leaf” was originally released on 21 April 1995 on a CD single, and is presented here in a new recording.

Performing the new arrangements are the London Symphony Orchestra and the Loma Mar Quartet, with special orchestrations arranged by noted musicians Richard Rodney Bennett, Jonathan Tunick and Andy Stein.

Album title

The title of this project is a pun on the phrase “working class”, in the sense that McCartney, despite his elevated stature, still cherishes his Liverpool roots and is proud of them. Mirroring this ideology is his pride in his rock and roll songs and willingness to transfer them into the “elevated” classical music genre.

Release and reception

Paul McCartney’s Working Classical was another success in that genre, even though this time it failed to dent the regular US album charts, and was better received critically than his previous effort, Standing Stone. His subsequent forays into the classical realm are 2006’s Ecce Cor Meum and 2011’s Ocean’s Kingdom. […]

Paul McCartney, about the album (unknown source):

I called it “Working Classical” because I’ve always had a bit of difficulty with the word “classical” with regard to music. “Classical” is often thought of as “serious” music, but that then denigrates all the other music I’ve done with the Beatles which I don’t think was all humorous. There’s some quite serious stuff there. So I prefer to call it “orchestral”. I’m also very proud of my working class roots. A lot of people like to turn their backs on their past, especially when they get a little bit elevated in life – but I am always keen to remind other people, and myself, of where I’m from. I don’t want to lose my roots. I’m always working class, I’m always from Liverpool and my roots are always in rock ‘n’ roll – but I like the odd cello !

So, I just saw this interesting pun made from “Classical” and “working class” and I thought, “Well, that’s a kind of neat title”, and it takes the edge off the classical to have a little bit of a pun with it.

From the liner notes:

Working with instruments commonly associated with classical music has been a hallmark of Sir Paul McCartney’s work since his early days with the Beatles. The memorable use of a string quartet in Yesterday, the chamber group in Eleanor Rigby and the orchestra in She’s Leaving Home; a French horn in For No One, a piccolo trumpet in Penny Lane – all these added more than just a touch of textural colour. The resulting sonorities became a vital part of the music’s emotional fabric. Thirty years on and the extraordinary success of the Liverpool Oratorio (1991) and Standing Stone (1997) have established McCartney as an important new voice in the classical field. Working Classical takes this process one stage further with it’s enterprising blend of orchestral and chamber music.

McCartney remains refreshingly candid about the creative processes involved in bringing his music to fruition. Having developed the ideas for the three orchestral pieces on this album, he worked alongside his regular classical producer, John Fraser, to find a satisfactory way of shaping them into a coherent overall form. Two internationally renowned musicians, Sir Richard Rodney Bennett and Jonathan Tunick, were then invited to work on the orchestrations. All three works employ a full symphony orchestra and are presented as integrated suites of striking ideas in an arch-like structure.

A Leaf and Spiral share a common origin inasmuch as both began as solo piano pieces, but there the resemblance ends. The main waltz-time idea of A Leaf (written shortly after the Liverpool Oratorio) has a reflective wistfulness about it that instantly draws the listener in. This is then contrasted with a section that in it’s rhythmic propulsion and use of muted trumpet in the orchestral mix has an unmistakably American vitality about it. Twinned clarinets, pungent horns and cellos, and the striking use of a solo piano show McCartney’s exuberant imagination working at full stretch, leading to a magical return of the opening material.

In comparison, Spiral is more impressionistic, much of it (despite some imposing climaxes along the way) heard as though through a heat haze. The haunting opening, featuring a solo flute memorably underpinned by a sustained chord in the strings, gradually fills out until the announcement of a little descending motif (B-A-G-E), which becomes increasingly important. The emergence of a string quartet from the orchestral texture momentarily threatens to destabilise the tonality, until the solo flute gently soothes the music’s troubled surface.

The last of the orchestral pieces originated as the theme for an animated film based on an American children’s book entitled Tuesday. Paul explains: “I liked the idea of extending it, so we’ve used a similar kind of orchestration to A Leaf, making it into more of an extended suite-like structure with several contrasting episodes. The main theme is dissected and then I work in a number of new ideas”.

The string quartet pieces came about as the result of memorial services held in America and England for Linda. McCartney wanted to mark the occasion with some of his own music and decided to collect together some of the songs he had written specifically with Linda in mind, the one exception being Junk. (This simple waltz with a descending bass line dates back to the Beatles era; it’s a song that suits the quartet medium especially well). The Brodsky Quartet premiered the resulting arrangements in London, the Loma Mar Quartet (who made the present recording) in New York. It was during the studio sessions that McCartney surprised the members of the Loma Mar Quartet with two new and completely original compositions – Haymakers and Midwife – as a kind of “thank you”. The latter is particularly effective, with it’s laid back, almost bluesy violin melody set against a steady 4/4 pizzicato accompaniment.

The nine song arrangements open with a pair of heart-warming love songs. The Victorian romanticism of Warm And Beautiful feels particularly close to McCartney at the moment: “That one really does get to me. It captures some of my innermost feelings for Linda”. Of My Love McCartney recalls; “Linda and I were going through such a wonderful period and she was fulfilling so many of my needs that it was really nice to put it down in song”.

Maybe I’m Amazed, the first song that McCartney intended for Linda, also sounds particularly effective here: “I felt good when I wrote it. It’s always difficult to talk about your own work but I felt the tune and lyrics all seemed to come together. I remember Liza Minelli once saying she thought it was my best song, so I was particularly pleased to have written that one for Linda”.

Calico Skies is a piece for acoustic guitar that McCartney wrote in America. The unmistakable suggestion of early music is quite deliberate: when he was composing it, McCartney recalled the image of a medieval musician banging away on a tabor. In complete contrast comes Golden Earth Girl, a vision of Linda as a blonde, gently tanned nature girl, totally at one with her surroundings. McCartney fondly imagines her contentedly curled up in a huge moss-lined nest.

Somedays is one of the finest tracks on McCartney’s solo album, Flaming Pie. Remarkably, it was written in just two hours after he had accompanied Linda to a photo session and found himself with some spare time on his hands.

She’s My Baby was written for Linda at the piano late one night in London during the couple’s early years together following the break-up of the Beatles. “It was a very liberating time for both of us”, remembers McCartney. “The song is essentially a series of little enigmatic statements, snatches from a diary that seemed to sum up our relationship at that time”. The Lovely Linda was the opening track on McCartney’s very first solo album, McCartney. Written one day in the halcyon early 70’s, it’s an engagingly simple piece that once heard is very difficult to get out of your head.

@ Julian Haylock, 1999

Last updated on May 13, 2018


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