Ecce Cor Meum, or "Behold My Heart" is now available from Faber Music through Alfred Music. The five-movement work became McCartney's tribute to Linda after she died of cancer in 1998; in particular, the yearning Interlude - the central movement and heart of the piece - which he wrote in the midst of his grief for her. But this impetus for the work wasn't immediately clear to McCartney himself. To begin with, he did what he does best - crafting a series of wonderful, lyrical melodies - but needed to be inspired to write the "right" text. It was only when he saw a statue depicting the Crucifixion, under which was inscribed Ecce Cor Meum or "Behold My Heart" that he realized this was the starting point he needed. A first version of Ecce Cor Meum was performed at the Sheldonian Theatre three years later. Following more work and revisions, the 55-minute work was finally recorded in March 2006 with EMI Classics. Following the premiere in November that year, the work was hailed as a phenomenal success, and the recording was awarded the Album of the Year Classical BRIT award in May 2007. But McCartney had now caught the bug for choral music, many people had said that they loved the rich seam of melodies in the oratorio, and had asked him if he could create an a cappella version of the work reduced for more practical resources. McCartney had a vision of a condensed work, and wanted to maintain the five-movement structure, but was determined that each movement should be reconceived as a "choral song" defined by the principal lyrical melody or melodies from the original movement - just like a pop song. And, like a pop song, each one should be just a few minutes long and be performable and programmable independently as well as part of the suite. This flexibility of usage was furthered by the decision to have a mix of a cappella and organ-accompanied songs, so that there could be used in a variety of contexts and performance spaces.
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