For his third full-length classical music release, Paul McCartney reworked a number of the songs he had written for his late wife Linda.
It was released just one month after his rock ‘n’ roll collection Run Devil Run, which was similarly assembled as a way to deal with his grief. Linda had died on 17 April 1998 at the age of 56, and the loss left Paul bereft and devastated.
While planning a memorial service, McCartney considered the music she might have chosen herself.
It might have been some loud rock ‘n’ roll, or perhaps something of mine. So I made a list of songs I had written specifically with Linda in mind.
New arrangements of several of his songs were written for string quartet and performed by the Brodsky Quartet at a memorial service held at St Martin-in-the-Fields in London; among the attendees were George Harrison and Ringo Starr.
A second memorial service was held shortly afterwards at the Riverside Church in Manhattan, New York City. This time the musicians were the Loma Mar Quartet, a group of freelance musicians whom McCartney had met during the New York premiere of Standing Stone.
My favourite arrangement is ‘Warm And Beautiful’. That always does my head in. It captures some of my innermost feelings for Linda. I’m not ashamed to be emotional. I used to be when I was younger, but I’m not anymore.
In the studio
Some of the arrangements and recordings in Working Classical predated Linda’s death. ‘A Leaf’ and ‘Spiral’ had begun life as solo piano compositions; the former had been composed shortly after the completion of Liverpool Oratorio, and was first performed with the Brodsky Quartet on 23 March 1995 at St James’s Palace in London.
‘A Leaf’ had first been performed in public by Russian pianist Anya Alexeyev, at a concert at St James’s Palace in London in 1995. A subsequent recording by Alexeyev from the charity concert An Evening With Paul McCartney was released as a CD single in the UK in April 1995.
The piece was then arranged for a full orchestra by Jonathan Tunick, and was recorded at AIR Lyndhurst Hall studio with the London Symphony Orchestra on 23 July 1996, along with ‘Spiral’. The recordings went unused, however.
‘Spiral’ and ‘Tuesday’ were then orchestrated by Richard Rodney Bennett, who had worked with McCartney on Standing Stone. ‘Tuesday’ was recorded at Abbey Road Studios on 10 and 11 October 1998, while ‘A Leaf’ and ‘Spiral’ were recorded on 9 November.
The Loma Mar Quartet recorded the pieces performed at Linda McCartney’s memorial in Studio One at Abbey Road Studios from 21-25 February 1999. In addition to the reworked songs from McCartney’s back catalogue, they also recorded two new compositions, ‘Haymakers’ and ‘Midwife’, during these sessions.
‘Tuesday’, rather than being a tribute to Linda, was written as the theme for an animated film based on David Wiesner’s children’s book of the same name. The film adaptation was released in 2000, directed by Geoff Dunbar and produced by McCartney.
|‘Junk’||Loma Mar Quartet||Andy Stein||McCartney (Paul McCartney LP, 1970)|
|‘A Leaf’||London Symphony Orchestra||John Fraser|
|‘Haymakers’||Loma Mar Quartet|
|‘Midwife’||Loma Mar Quartet|
|‘Spiral’||London Symphony Orchestra||John Fraser|
|‘Warm And Beautiful’||Loma Mar Quartet||Michael Thomas||Wings At The Speed Of Sound (Wings LP, 1976)|
|‘My Love’||Loma Mar Quartet||Michael Thomas||Red Rose Speedway (Paul McCartney and Wings LP, 1973)|
|‘Maybe I’m Amazed’||Loma Mar Quartet||Loma Mar Quartet and Roberto Pansera||McCartney (Paul McCartney LP, 1970)|
|‘Calico Skies’||Loma Mar Quartet||Loma Mar Quartet||Flaming Pie (Paul McCartney LP, 1997)|
|‘Golden Earth Girl’||Loma Mar Quartet||Loma Mar Quartet||Flaming Pie (Paul McCartney LP, 1997)|
|‘Somedays’||Loma Mar Quartet||Loma Mar Quartet||Off The Ground (Paul McCartney LP, 1993)|
|‘Tuesday’||London Symphony Orchestra||John Fraser|
|‘She’s My Baby’||Loma Mar Quartet||Loma Mar Quartet||Wings At The Speed Of Sound (Wings LP, 1976)|
|‘The Lovely Linda’||Loma Mar Quartet||Roberto Pansera||McCartney (Paul McCartney LP, 1970)|