A composer and producer who started putting together Beatles lectures
in 2011 as a way to entertain his musician friends, Scott Freiman started listening to the Fab Four when he was 11 years old.
The Beatles provided Freiman, a classically trained pianist, his first exposure to rock 'n' roll, and he immediately shifted his focus.
In February, Freiman makes his fourth visit in six years to the Cleveland Museum of Art
. He'll give two multimedia presentations in which he "examines and analyzes the many innovative songwriting and production techniques used by the Fab Four." Over the years, his lectures here have drawn a few thousand fans, and the first four talks have recently been videotaped for showings in movie theaters across the country.
When he comes to the Cleveland Museum of Art, Freiman will premiere a brand new show, “Roll Up! Deconstructing the Beatles’ Magical Mystery Tour,” and also reprise 2013’s “Yeah! Yeah! Yeah! Deconstructing the Early Beatles.” Neither of these lectures has been recorded or filmed. Here’s what he has to say about each program.
Yeah! Yeah! Yeah! Deconstructing the Early Beatles
(1:30 p.m. on Feb. 4)
Everyone knows the Beatles and the Beatles music. This lecture will show how four teenagers with no musical training become the Beatles. It’s about their early meetings and their first steps into the studio. We go through 1963, ending when they go to America. We talk about the birth of “Please Please Me” and “Love Me Do.” In researching this time period, the biggest surprise is what sponges they were. They soaked up everything and had a tremendous work ethic. They had no idea what they were in for when they went to Germany to play in Hamburg. They were essentially just a garage band. They would have to play for hours. They added scores and scores of songs to their sets because they didn’t have enough material. And they were forced to put on a show. In the process, they soak up whatever they can. That seeps into their songwriting. When they got back from Germany, no one recognized them. You can’t overlook the friendship they had either. If one of them wasn’t into it, the whole thing would have fallen apart. When one was down, the others would pump him up. The guys just hit it off and worked really hard.
Roll Up! Deconstructing the Beatles’ Magical Mystery Tour
(1:30 p.m. on Feb. 5)
This skips ahead only seven years and the Beatles are now in their psychedelic period. They pull off the road and go into the studio to make “Strawberry Fields Forever” and “Penny Lane.” We skip over “Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band” to “All You Need is Love.” The Magical Mystery Tour
film is actually one of their failures. The Beatles felt they could do the movie themselves and rather than hire people who knew what they were doing, the whole thing was poorly planned. It was filmed in color and shown in black and white. People weren’t expecting it. The Beatles had seen avant garde stuff and tried to do something like that and put it on TV. People weren’t prepared. They then gave up touring so that they could reproduce songs in the studio. In this lecture, I talk about a song like “I Am the Walrus.” It’s such a fascinating song that I could do a whole lecture on it. One of the interesting things about it is the beginning of the song was inspired by the police sirens in England. He writes that introduction which is a copy of the siren and his phrasing even mimics the siren. It’s really fascinating.