This weekend, the Winnipeg Philharmonic Choir presents Sir Paul McCartney’s oratorio Ecce Cor Meum or Behold My Heart for the first time in Manitoba. 



Joined by soprano soloist Andrea Lett, Pembina Trails Voices’ chamber ensemble and Cantemus,  bolstered by the musicians of the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, the work serves as an ecumenical meditation on goodness, spirituality, peace and love.  

“It’s a very interesting piece, I must say,” says maestro Yuri Klaz, who leads the performance. “Certainly, the audience will experience this wonderful melodic language of Sir Paul... not in his songs but in this very large choral work.”  

Sung in Latin and English, the four-movement work was first heard in 2001, commissioned for the Magdalen College, Oxford. At the heart of the composition is a moving interlude, featuring a plaintive oboe solo, written in memory of McCartney’s wife, Linda, who died of cancer as he was working on the piece. 

Joining the Winnipeg Philharmonic Choir will be two groups from Pembina Trails Voices: Cantemus and the PTV chamber ensemble.  All told, roughly 100 singers will gather to perform the work.  

“It wasn’t a hard sell at all,” says director Valdine Anderson when asked about the opportunity to perform the work. “Paul McCartney. They jumped on it.” 

The Phil – who celebrated their centennial anniversary in 2022 – is hoping audiences, too, will jump at the opportunity to hear music by one of the Fab Four. 

“As we go into our next century, we’re looking for new audience, bring them in, and this is the kind of work that can do that,” says Winnipeg Philharmonic Choir board member and programming co-chair Sandi Mielitz. 

In addition to the oratorio, audiences can also look forward to a few Beatles’ tunes on the program. 

The concert takes place 3 p.m. on Sunday, March 17 at the Saint Boniface Cathedral.  

Tickets are $40, with special pricing for seniors and those under 30.  

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