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Classical 101

Paul McCartney's Plunge into Ballet

Paul McCartney was in the greatest pop/rock band of all time -- The Beatles, of course -- and he soared with the rock group he created in 1971, Paul McCartney and Wings and produced numerous solo albums. What you might not have known is that Paul McCartney is a classical composer. He has written an oratorio, a symphony, a cantata, music for string quartets and now a ballet. In yesterday's Arts Beat in the New York Times Daniel J. Wakin reports that the New York City Ballet is producing and performing "Ocean's Kingdom" this September, a story about two kingdoms, with "the daughter of the ocean king falling in love with the brother of the earth king" and the romantic drama flows from that situation. As in McCartney's other orchestral works, he got help with the final orchestration. But as many songwriters and composers know, coming up with good melodies is one of the most difficult things of all, and Sir Paul has certainly established himself (along with John Lennon) as one of the great melodists, on a par with Schubert or any classical composer. If "Ocean's Kingdom" is up to the standards of what he is capable of, this plunge into the sea could rise to entertaining heights. I just wonder if there will be any yellow submarines swimming about. Anyway, I think they should let Ringo perform during the intermission: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V-BdGchS0yk