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The Baroque Beatles Book / Rifkin


Release Date: 07/14/2009 
Label:  Nonesuch   Catalog #: 517948   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  John LennonPaul McCartneyJohn & Paul Lennon & McCartneyJohn & McCartney Lennon
Conductor:  Joshua Rifkin
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Baroque Ensemble of the Merseyside Kammermusickgesellschaft
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Musicologist-conductor-pianist Joshua Rifkin’s The Baroque Beatles Book is a milestone from the early days of Nonesuch Records. It began as a marketing concept-cum-youthful prank: How about writing Baroque-era arrangements of the Fab Four’s Top 40 hits, as if Lennon & McCartney were contemporaries of Bach & Handel? Beatlemania and the Baroque were both in fashion with their respective audiences, and the disc became a crossover hit at the height of the 1965 holiday season. But The Baroque Beatles Book was no mere novelty item; over the years it has gained downright legendary status among Beatles fans and classical enthusiasts alike. Newsweek declared the collection “inspired”; the Boston Globe called it “brilliant.”

The
Read more 21-year-old Rifkin was fresh out of Juilliard and a stint in the Even Dozen Jug Band, a Greenwich Village folk combo that boasted David Grisman, John Sebastian, and Geoff and Maria Muldaur as members. He was working in the Nonesuch office, helping to repackage the European classical releases that were the label’s stock in trade at the time, when Nonesuch founder Jac Holzman gave him the project and a very tight deadline—plus the wherewithal to hire his favorite freelance classical players. Mark Abrahamson (Judy Collins, Paul Butterfield Blues Band) would produce, with Paul Rothchild (Phil Ochs, The Doors) assisting.

As Rifkin recounts in the liner notes he contributed to this new edition, “With the holiday season looming, we managed to do everything—composing, recording, editing, mastering, packaging—in five mad weeks. I wrote music 10 to 18 hours a day, day in and day out. As I got scores ready, a wonderful staff of copyists picked them up pretty much the minute they left my hands and copied out parts ... I had learned, in my studies, about how Bach and Handel had turned out oratorios or operas at breakneck pace. Now I found myself living it.”

Rifkin would later garner worldwide recognition as the catalyst for the ragtime revival with his best-selling Nonesuch recordings of Scott Joplin’s works. Of course, the Beatles were doing well enough in 1965 without Rifkin’s intercession, but his arrangements for The Baroque Beatles Book perhaps helped facilitate the growing creative dialogue between popular and more high-minded culture, something the Beatles themselves would engage in as the matured. And Rifkin’s spur-of-the-moment inspiration has proven to be just as much fun 40 years later as the pop songs upon which it is based.
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Works on This Recording

1.
I Want to Hold Your Hand by John Lennon
Conductor:  Joshua Rifkin
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Baroque Ensemble of the Merseyside Kammermusickgesellschaft
Period: 20th Century 
Written: by 1964; England 
Notes: Titled: "Overture" 
2.
I'll Cry Instead by John Lennon
Conductor:  Joshua Rifkin
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Baroque Ensemble of the Merseyside Kammermusickgesellschaft
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1964; England 
Notes: Titled: Réjouissance 
3.
Things We Said Today by Paul McCartney
Conductor:  Joshua Rifkin
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Baroque Ensemble of the Merseyside Kammermusickgesellschaft
Period: 20th Century 
Written: England 
Notes: Titled: La Paix  
4.
You've Got to Hide Your Love Away by John Lennon
Conductor:  Joshua Rifkin
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Baroque Ensemble of the Merseyside Kammermusickgesellschaft
Period: 20th Century 
Written: by 1965; England 
Notes: Titled: L'Amour s'en cachant  
5.
Ticket to Ride by John Lennon
Conductor:  Joshua Rifkin
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Baroque Ensemble of the Merseyside Kammermusickgesellschaft
Period: 20th Century 
Written: by 1965; England 
Notes: Titled: Les Plaisirs 
6.
Hold Me Tight by Paul McCartney
Conductor:  Joshua Rifkin
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Baroque Ensemble of the Merseyside Kammermusickgesellschaft
Period: 20th Centurye 
Written: England 
7.
Last Night I Said - Please, Please Me by John & Paul Lennon & McCartney
Conductor:  Joshua Rifkin
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Baroque Ensemble of the Merseyside Kammermusickgesellschaft
Period: 20th Century 
Written: England 
8.
In They Came Jorking by John Lennon
Conductor:  Joshua Rifkin
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Baroque Ensemble of the Merseyside Kammermusickgesellschaft
Period: 20th Century 
Written: England 
Notes: Titled: Recitative 
9.
Help! by John Lennon
Conductor:  Joshua Rifkin
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Baroque Ensemble of the Merseyside Kammermusickgesellschaft
Period: 20th Century 
Written: by 1965; England 
10.
I'll Be Back by John Lennon
Conductor:  Joshua Rifkin
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Baroque Ensemble of the Merseyside Kammermusickgesellschaft
Period: 20th Century 
Written: England 
11.
Eight Days a Week by John & Paul Lennon & McCartney
Conductor:  Joshua Rifkin
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Baroque Ensemble of the Merseyside Kammermusickgesellschaft
Period: 20th Century 
Written: England 
Notes: Titled: Grave-Allegro-Grave 
12.
Please Please Me by John Lennon

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