1. Movement 1 Ocean’s Kingdom (14:07)
2. Movement 2 Hall of Dance (16:19)
3. Movement 3 Imprisonment (13:36)
4. Movement 4 Moonrise (12:29)
Commissioned by New York City Ballet, the score will be heard for the first time in public on September 22 at the David H. Koch Theater on the Lincoln Center Plaza in New York City as part of the company’s Fall Gala launching its 2011-12 season.
McCartney uses the tricks of the trade well. It starts out with a sufficiently watery-sounding opening that vaguely recalls the atmosphere of the underwater opening of Wagner’s “Rheingold”. Dramatic sequences use the percussion section well — tympanis and xylophones beat out rhythmically driving, somehow corporate-sounding themes representing the bad guys in the storyline of the ballet.
There are plenty of immortal ballets and operas with less than brilliant librettos that have stood the test of time because of the quality of the music alone, and when listened to as an album rather than experienced on stage as part of a bigger production, Ocean’s Kingdom is pretty damn good.
However, it might just be far enough removed from classic McCartney fans’ comfort zones. Therefore, I’d recommend checking out selections online before making a final decision. Honestly, I appreciate an artist that is willing to stretch.