Paul McCartney - Ocean's Kingdom


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DHER 33251
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Vinyl LP with Damaged Cover

No. of Discs: 2

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McCartney's first-ever original orchestral score

As half of the singing and songwriting core of The Beatles, Sir Paul McCartney stands amongst the most influential figures in 20th century music. With John Lennon, guitarist George Harrison and drummer Ringo Starr, the Beatles changed the face of popular music forever.

Marking his first foray into the world of dance, McCartney has released Ocean's Kingdom, commissioned by the New York City Ballet. 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 Peter Martins, the Ballet Master in Chief of the New York City Ballet. They worked together to present the world premiere of a new ballet in September for the company's 2011/2012 season. 

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" took place at NYCB's Fall Gala on Sept. 22. The orchestral score is 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. 

1. Movement 1: Ocean’s Kingdom
2. Movement 2: Hall of Dance
3. Movement 3: Imprisonment
4. Movement 4: Moonrise

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