The Paul McCartney Project

Interview for Liverpool Echo • Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Sir Paul McCartney: Exclusive interview

Press interview • Interview of Paul McCartney
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Interview

SIR Paul McCartney is returning to Liverpool for what he calls his revenge gig.

He was referring to a concert of his classical music being staged at Liverpool cathedral, where he was rejected as a chorister more than 50 years ago.

Sir Paul gave an exclusive interview to the ECHO about his two Capital of Culture concerts in his home city.

For one he will be in the audience, and for the second on stage.

The former Beatle promised the Anfield stadium concert would be “my tribute to Liverpool”.

But tomorrow he joins a capacity audience in the cathedral for the northern premiere of his choral work Ecce Cor Meum (Behold My Heart), dedicated to first wife Linda.

He said: “There is no better place for me to hold this concert than in Liverpool where I’ll also get to invite my family.

“I have a lot of connections with the cathedral, having gone there as a kid and applied to join the choir.

“I got turned down, so this is my revenge trip.”

The performance will feature the cathedral choristers, the singing group he hoped to join in 1953 at the age of 11, the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra and choir.

Sir Paul said: “It is a privilege to be able to work with a great orchestra or a great choir.

“One of the things I particularly like about the Liverpool choir is that they are very committed.

“You get people from all walks of life, so I love the humanity of it.

“You get a plumber standing next to a surgeon, so it’s a great mix.

“And that’s something I’m interested in and have always liked.

“As on a train you find yourself next to someone who could be anyone. And it’s like that in a choir. I love this coming together of various types of people.”

He said Ecce Cor Meum, premiered in 2001 and commissioned for the world-renowned Magdalene College Oxford choir, was special.

“It was a great compliment to be asked to write something for them. They are showing you that they trust you,” he added.

Sir Paul said he hoped the work would sound particularly good in the cathedral with its big acoustics.

He said it was particularly interesting to work with a text partly in Latin.

Recalling his schooldays at Liverpool Institute (now the Lipa arts college of which he is lead patron) Sir Paul said: “I was not very good at Latin. But I liked it.

“I always used to encourage my own kids to learn a bit of Latin because it’s the root of the English language and all the romantic languages. Sometimes, when you are trying to work out what a word means, you can go back to the Latin root and I like that aspect.”

Tomorrow marks the third time Sir Paul has heard a live performance of Ecce Cor Meum which won the best album award at the Classical Brits last year. He said: “I heard it in London and New York.

“But one of the great things is that these mark a bit of a night off for me.

“Everything I’ve ever done with music has involved me performing so it is one of the luxuries that I can be in the audience.

“I couldn’t play it anyway. And I couldn’t conduct it.

“It’s out of my range.”

He said he would never revise an orchestral work: “I’d rather write something new. You write something and you are supposed to be happy with it so I wouldn’t go back.

“I wouldn’t tinker with it.”

Macca also revealed he is now writing a film score but added: “I can’t really give anything away on that one at the moment.”

Paul McCartney’s first classical work the Liverpool Oratorio was premiered in Liverpool cathedral in 1991 to mark the Liverpool Phil’s 150th anniversary.

“The cathedral was always looming over our classroom,” he recalled.

“It was mostly finished by then. But they were still fixing on bits and pieces.”

SIR Paul said his Capital of Culture Anfield concert would be a personal thank-you to his home city.

“I’m doing a decent length of songs,” he said, denying earlier rumours that he was singing only four numbers.

“I know we’ve also got a few guests. But I’m not sure of exactly who. It’s still a bit up in the air so I wouldn’t get anybody’s hopes up.”

“It’s going to be interesting.

“But it is basically my tribute to Liverpool.”

THE man who turned Paul McCartney down for the Liverpool cathedral choir said the former Beatle owed him.

Ronald Woan, 88, said: “If I had taken him on, he would probably have ended up teaching music in a comprehensive school.

“Under the circumstances he went on to do other things.

“I think he owes me an awful lot of money.”

Mr Woan, cathedral director of music until his retirement in 1982, said Paul was one of 90 boys auditioned that year.

He added: “He would have been required to sing a verse of Once In Royal David’s City, but he wouldn’t, at that stage, have been required to read music.

“Not reading music was not the reason he failed his audition as is often supposed.”


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