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Wall Street Journal: Paul Appleby on Beatles & Schubert

Paul joins the New York Festival of Song on Tuesday, December 8, for a concert of Schubert and the Beatles at the Kaufman Centre in New York City (tickets & information).

Paul spoke to the Wall Street Journal for a feature on the concert. Here’s a snippet:

The Beatles songs, some of the best-known tunes ever recorded, still posed a challenge in their rearrangement for piano and voice. Without a rhythm section, they might sound too similar.

“Schubert is fixed,” Mr. Appleby said. “It’s written on stone. But the Beatles stuff we took some liberties with.”

The goal, he added, was to show “that there is something immutable about those songs that go past their place in history and their cultural context.”

One example is the John Lennon song “Julia,” from the “White Album,” which was rearranged in alternating meters, in part so that Mr. Appleby could explore a double reading of the phrase “Half of what I say is meaningless.”

“It has this circular, mysterious energy I didn’t want to dilute,” Mr. Appleby said.

As he looked deeper into the song, though, he made a surprising connection. The new arrangement also emphasized the dual relationships, with his mother and his later wife, Yoko Ono, that Lennon sang about.

“The musical content articulates something about the poetry of the lyrics,” said Mr. Appleby. FULL FEATURE HERE