McCartney 'Oratorio' scheduled for weekend Performance Saturday will be area premiere

February 23, 1996|By Phil Greenfield | Phil Greenfield,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

We live in an age of crossovers.

Placido Domingo warbles duets with John Denver. Jazz singer Bobby McFerrin regularly conducts the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra.

And former Beatle Paul McCartney, composer of "Yesterday," has collaborated on an ambitious, large-scale musical oratorio for chorus, full orchestra and five vocal soloists.

Highbrows, lowbrows and Beatle fans in between will be excited learn that Mr. McCartney's "Liverpool Oratorio" will receive its area premiere at 8 p.m. tomorrow at Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts in Annapolis.

Conductor J. Ernest Green will lead 150 adult singers, 25 members of the Annapolis Chorale's Youth Chorus, an augmented Annapolis Chamber Orchestra, and soloists Priscilla Gale, Amy Reiff, Thomas Poole, Stephen Markuson and Paul Masse in this production.

Commissioned by the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Society in 1991, the "Liverpool Oratorio" is, in the main, an autobiographical work. Mr. McCartney and his collaborator, British conductor-composer Carl Davis, have crafted an eight-movement composition that harks back to Britain during World War II and conveys impressions of Mr. McCartney's relationships and educational background.

"It's a very interesting weaving together of themes and ideas," Mr. Green said. "He sneaks in all sorts of interesting things; an elegant trumpet solo, for example, which reminds us that McCartney's father was a trumpet player."

The work's orchestration is intimate and involving, and a particularly poignant violin solo might conjure up images of England's greatest 20th-century composer, Ralph Vaughan Williams.

"Of course it wouldn't be McCartney," Mr. Green said, "if it didn't also contain some truly beautiful tunes."

Tickets for the "Liverpool Oratorio" are $22.50. For information, call 263-1906.

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