Bring Back Eleanor Rigby

With a little help from a friend, Paul McCartney proves that he can turn out a serious composition -- alas, too serious

There is something about church music that attracts even the most agnostic British composer whenever a major statement is called for. The choristers decked out in liturgical robes, the angelic, sexless piping of boy sopranos, the hovering vicars, the culturally resonant majesty of the cathedral setting -- the whole High Church atmosphere has consistently evoked a corresponding High Seriousness in composers as disparate as Handel, John Stainer, Elgar and Andrew Lloyd Webber.

The latest Englishman to have a go is Paul McCartney, the erstwhile "cute" Beatle and Wings captain, whose quasi-autobiographical Liverpool Oratorio is soaring on the classical charts (Angel/EMI Classics...

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