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Paul McCartney symphonic work makes West Coast premiere in Claremont

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The music of Paul McCartney returns to Southern California this week. In April, the former Beatle headlined the Coachella Music Festival. This weekend, McCartney’s latest symphonic work makes its West Coast premiere in Claremont. KPCC’s Steven Cuevas has details.

Steven Cuevas: “Ecce Cor Meum” is a brooding four-part oratorio. McCartney toiled over the musical composition for more than eight years. It was inspired in part by the death of his wife Linda in 1998.

Paul McCartney: I knew what “ecce” meant. I knew it was "behold." “Ecce, Caesar!”

Cuevas: In a film about “Ecce Cor Meum,” McCartney said the Latin title has significance.

McCartney: “Meum” I could understand meant “my.” And I gradually figured out that “cor” was heart. So it meant “Behold My Heart.” I thought, “Yeah, that’s a good title.”

[Music plays]

McCartney: When I came around to thinking, “What do I want the words to say?” I actually just wrote down a lot of things about truth, love, honesty, kindness, and just stuff I thought was important in life, so that whatever this was going to be, there would be some meaningful moments for me in it.

[Music plays]

Cuevas: “Ecce Cor Meum” was commissioned by the University of Oxford, where it debuted in 2001. The oratorio wasn’t performed again for five years.

The West Coast premiere is Sunday at the Garrison Theater in Claremont. “Ecce Cor Meum” will be performed by Cal State San Bernardino’s Concert Choir and the Mountainside Master Chorale.