On a Strange Beatles Experience

And now, for something completely different…

I’ve made a bizarre musical discovery.

As long-time Allynologists know, I love The Beatles. As soon as I have a frame for my poster of A Hard Day’s Night, that’s going up in the stairwell. I have over sixty hours of Beatles music on my hard drive. (To put that into perspective, during their career from 1962 to 1970, they officially released 13 hours.) I have said, and not without some pride in so saying, that I have forgotten more about the Fab Four than some people ever know.

So, what have I found?

The Beatles Gregorian Songbook.

It is exactly what the title makes it sound like. Schola Musica perform a dozen Beatles songs as Gregorian chants.

Some of these songs are interpreted strangely. “Nowhere Man” is virtually unrecognizable, for instance. “Because” works remarkably well — the Beatles’ version was already a nine-part harmony. (Yes, nine-part; John, Paul, and George were each multitracked three times, for a total of nine voices.) And some of the other atonal Beatles songs, like “Tomorrow Never Knows” and “The Inner Light,” work well as a Gregorian-style chant.

I can’t recommend The Beatles Gregorian Songbook, just because it’s so far from the norm. It’s an amusing listen, though, and certainly it’s impressive for its ambition, its substance, and its style. I don’t know that I’ll ever listen to this again, but I’m sort of glad I did.

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