For lovers of British composers the name of Ronald Corp will likely be familiar. For others this may be an introduction to some contemporary music that is both well constructed and very beautiful. From the liner we discover the background of this young man: Ronald Corp was born January 4, 1951 is a composer, conductor, and an Anglican priest who studied music at Oxford University. He is founder and Artistic Director of the New London Orchestra in 1988 and the New London Children's Choir. Corp is Musical Director of the London Chorus, a position he took up in 1994, and is also Musical Director of the Highgate Choral Society. He is a champion of neglected works and has composed many works for both accompanied and unaccompanied chorus and a heady group of instrumental works for orchestra and chamber groups.
On this fine album from Naxos the Maggini Quartet performs his first string quartet, 'The Bustard', a descriptive piece that celebrates the return of this somewhat ungainly bird to its homeland on the Salisbury Plain. The music soars and prattles in much the way this rather oversized bird presents himself and the result is an entertaining and often very beautiful depiction of a bird in flight. The second quartet, in celebration of the birth of a baby boy, is more dramatic and more compositionally pure in form. The Maggini Quartet is a fine group of instrumentalists who find solo lines an opportunity to demonstrate the richness of their training.
The song cycle 'Country Matters' for tenor and quartet is a group of poems by Steve Mainwaring and are at times sprechstimme in nature and at other times hilarious and a bit frightening. Mark Wilde is the tenor who makes the tricky works sound impossibly simple. In all this is an excellent introduction to the compositional gifts of Ronald Corp whose works likely will become often performed in this country. This is accessible and very beautiful contemporary music. Grady Harp, September 11