US album release: Liverpool Oratorio by Paul McCartney

Paul McCartney’s first classical music album, Liverpool Oratorio, was released in the United States on 22 October 1991.

It was McCartney’s third album release that year, following Unplugged (The Official Bootleg) and the worldwide edition of Choba B CCCP.

The piece was commissioned by the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, and was composed with conductor Carl Davis, who received joint billing in the album credits.

Liverpool Oratorio album artwork - Paul McCartney

The world premiere of Liverpool Oratorio took place on Friday 28 June 1991, in front of a capacity audience of 2,500 people at the cathedral. The 90 members of the Liverpool Philharmonic were joined by the 160-strong Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Choir, 40 choristers of the cathedral, and four world-class solo singers: Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, Sally Burgess, Jerry Hadley and Willard White.

The Liverpool recording was released as a double CD set, to mixed reviews. It topped the US classical charts, but reached only number 177 on the Billboard 200.

In the UK Liverpool Oratorio was released on 7 October 1991. It topped the classical chart and reached number 36 on the main album chart.

Initial pressings of the Japanese edition of the album came with a bonus 3″ CD featuring a six-minute interview with McCartney.

A single compact disc set, titled Paul McCartney’s Liverpool Oratorio – Highlights, was released in October 1992, and featured shortened versions of each of the movements.

Two singles were released from the album. The World You’re Coming In To/Tres Conejos was issued in the UK on 30 September 1991. It was followed on 25 November by Save The Child/The Drinking Song, which was also issued in the US on 12 November.

Last updated: 19 July 2021
UK album release: Liverpool Oratorio by Paul McCartney
US album release: Choba B CCCP by Paul McCartney
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