The Beatles for Orchestra

The Beatles for Orchestra

Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra

A recording of classic Beatles tracks, conducted by Carl Davis

Sleeve Notes

My start with The Beatles was not auspicious in 1963, after their two first hits, the doyenne of London agents, Peggy Ramsey, rang to ask my advice. She had been asked to handle a biography of something called The Beatles and what did I think? Without pause I replied “Don’t touch it, they’re only a pop group”. Well…….!

My conversion took place a year later. In my dank, Bayswater flat on a Saturday morning, having a bath with a transistor radio on, there came a blast of freshness and energy: it was “A Hard Day’s Night”. I splashed around merrily to the song – it just made me happy. From then on I followed the group’s progress, along with the rest of the world: every L.P., every single was of great interest, their evolution was amazing. I think they revolutionised the studio world once they were confident in their success. And of course, they had ideal help in their producer, George Martin, who was prepared to be innovative with them. The songs were compared to Schubert and Leonard Bernstein admired Paul McCartney’s intonation.

When it was all over in 1970, there was the sense of a sad ending for a miraculous collaboration: why did it have to stop? Of course, they still kept working but separately and with different results. But the world kept playing and singing Beatles hits and so did I.

A chance remark sparked off this CD. My old friend, Sandra Parr, Head of Programming and backbone of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, said in passing, “You know, we are always being asked to play Beatles, but we don’t have anything”. I replied, “I’ll give you something to play”. Indeed, the original recordings are still with us and I feel for a long time yet. But the melodies are very strong in themselves and if arranged sensitively would be a very pleasurable CD and fulfil a need. It would demonstrate the range of their talent from the early rock and roll influences to the quirky, with my own special preference for Paul McCartney’s soulful ballads. They may have been “only a pop group” but the result was pure genius.

Carl Davis, March 2011

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