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Six years later (March 2006), McCartney completed a 'modern classical' work named Ecce Cor Meum ('Behold My Heart'), premièred at the Royal Albert Hall (November 2006) and recorded with the Academy of St Martin in the Fields, plus boys from Cambridge and Oxford colleges. It won Classical Album of the Year (Classical Brit Awards, 2007).

Awards apart, McCartney's bloodless results in the genre are evident from his Working Classical (EMI), a pastiche of earlier work performed by the LSO and Loma Mar Quartet; its special orchestrations shaped by Richard Rodney Bennett, Jonathan Tunick and Andy Stein.

As for Costello -- The Juliet Letters has its saving graces but Il Sogno (2004), a ballet after Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream ( commissioned by Italian dance troupe Aterballeto) betrays classical limitations by its blandness and lack of true adhesion.

The fact is German pop idol Thomas Fortmann has achieved what repeatedly eludes others, here and in America. Within his first few opening bars one is aware that the music possesses an integral sense of direction, sure compositional integrity, and a degree of emotional content that immediately engages the attention.

At seventeen he wrote an international pop hit, and within a decade completed one hundred titles published in a total of twenty seven countries. Among the performers were Udo Lindenberg, Alexis Korner, Love Generation, Juergen Drews, Su Kramer, Thor Demon and Toni Vescoli. Ten years later, however, he abruptly turned his back on pop music.

Prior to writing these works (now on Divine Art), Fortmann had married, become a father, and moved to the mountains of Intrania in Ticino, Switzerland. There he wrote La Preghiera del Signore, a deeply spiritual piece, performed in churches across Europe. In 1988 he purchased a castle in Tuscany, Italy, and wrote the opera Pinocchio, premièred at Zurich's Opera house (1991). Pinocchio starred legendary Swiss kabarettistin Ines Torelli and proved Zurich Opera's biggest success in fifteen years.

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Copyright © 24 January 2008 Howard Smith, Masterton, New Zealand


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