Deconstructing the Beatles at the Avalon
Join Scott Freiman on Sunday, June 10, at the Avalon Theatre for a multimedia presentation about the production and composition techniques behind four of the most well-loved songs by the Beatles.
By Elie Lichtschein
On June 10, 1966, the Beatles released the single "Paperback Writer"/"Rain,"initiating a string of increasingly experimental recordings that would culminate with the iconic game-changer "Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band" the following summer.
This year, on Sunday, June 10, the Avalon Theatre (5612 Connecticut Ave. NW, Washington, DC), in conjunction with the Hope for Henry Foundation, is celebrating the Fab Four’s creative mid-sixties epoch with Scott Freiman’s multimedia presentation "Deconstructing the Beatles: A Trip Through Strawberry Fields."
Freiman—a composer, producer and educator—has created presentations that explore the production and composition techniques behind the classic Beatles albums "Revolver," "Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band" and "The White Album," but Sunday’s event will focus on songs, rather than albums: four of the most well-loved songs in the entire Beatles catalog—“Strawberry Fields Forever,” “Penny Lane,” “A Day in the Life” and “All You Need is Love.”
What exactly does it mean to deconstruct the Beatles?
“What the program basically does is give people an insight into the Beatles’ creative process,” Freiman said. “To show how they created the music, how a song would evolve in the studio from the basic idea to the finished product.”
Freiman has toured the program for the better half of the last two years, presenting at Google, Facebook, Tufts University and the Cleveland Museum of Art, just to name a few. He’s bringing the program to Pixar Studios in July and, come fall, will be teaching a course on the music of the Beatles at Yale, his alma mater.
Few artists in the 20th century have generated as much spilled ink and opined views as John, Paul, George and Ringo. But, what sets "Deconstructing the Beatles" apart is Freiman’s aural and visual analyses of their songwriting process and producer George Martin’s methods of in-studio production, which Freiman garnered from numerous first-hand sources, including rare audio and video recordings of the Beatles in action. The audio tracks of classic songs at different stages of their development showcase how a Beatles song would travel from rough idea to glossy finished product.
“The Beatles' music will stand as one of the inspirations for composers for all time,” Freiman said. “I try and explore why that is.”
The general reaction to the program is normally one of two responses.
“People who don’t know that much about music will say ‘I’ll never listen to music the same way,’ and those who do will find a deeper appreciation for the production of it,” Freiman said.
Freiman has given the presentation at the Avalon once before, but he returns to help out a favorite organization of his.
“I’m doing this because of Hope for Henry,” he said, referring to the Washington, DC-based organization that helps improve the lives of children battling serious illnesses. “They do wonderful work and I think it’s a great cause.”
If you’ve ever been curious about what it’s like to spend a day in the life of a Beatles producer, wonder no more: This Sunday, let Scott Freiman take you down.
"Deconstructing the Beatles" takes place on Sunday, June 10, at 3 p.m. at the Avalon Theatre (5612 Connecticut Ave. NW, Washington, DC—just south of Chevy Chase Circle). Tickets, available online, start at $35.