Like his coeval Pete Townshend, Paul McCartney never learned to read/write music, but like Townshend, that certainly didn’t stop him. Composer-arranger David Bennett talks about this in his latest YT podcast, “How Much Music Theory Did The Beatles Know?”
“‘The Beatles didn’t read or write sheet music, so surely they didn’t understand music theory…?’ Well, no. Reading sheet music is only part of what it means to understand music theory,” says Bennett. Which gets me fascinated enough to want to ask my beloved John Wilson how he and McCartney were able to musically communicate when they did Ocean’s Kingdom together…
And just so you don’t think I’m always down on bonny John, who was himself brilliantly educated at the Royal College of Music, here’s his orchestration, written in 2002 when he was 30, of Howard Goodall’s score for the TV movie The Gathering Storm, a bit Elgarish. And here’s the orchestration he wrote when he was 28, of Richard Rodney Bennett’s music for the TV mini-series fantasy Gormenghast, which won the Ivor Novello Award for Best Film Score in 2000.
- “The Story So Far, with Conductor John Wilson”
- “The Story So Far; Or, Conductor John Wilson—His Limits”