McCartney is out of his depth on this four-movement piece for the New York City Ballet.
Was there ever so much hype about a new ballet as there has been about Sir Paul McCartney's Ocean's Kingdom? Not in recent years at any rate, and no doubt that's exactly what the New York City Ballet were banking on when they asked the former Beatle to write them a new stage work. However, the resultant musical product should be viewed as a salutary lesson in what happens when you commission above a composer's skill-set.
McCartney is a master tunesmith, but his strengths lie in small-scale form. Even his previous larger classical works have either been split into numerous short movements, or else been choral works where the texts have provided a clear structural framework. In asking him to compose almost an hour's worth of purely orchestral music – a symphony in other words, given the resultant work's four movements – the NYB were asking him to make a massive leap in terms of melodic development and large-scale structuring. Unfortunately for everyone, he simply doesn’t have the classical know-how to pull it off.
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Bron: BBC Music