LABELS: Dutton
WORKS: Forever Child; Four Elizabethan Lyrics; Missa San Marco
PERFORMER: Voces Cantabiles/Ronald Corp
Corp has been a prolific composer since childhood, writing over 1,000 compositions by the time he went to university – and then he burned most of them. He is best-known, however, as conductor of the New London Orchestra, New London Children’s Choir, the London Chorus and Highgate Choral Society. As a conductor he is a champion of light music and music for children. His own writing is tuneful and accessible but, where the context requires, he does not flinch from acerbic harmonies and unexpected intervals. One can understand how choirs would find Corp’s music rewarding to perform. It ranges from the pleasantly appealing, like the beguiling Give to My Eyes Lord for piano and children’s chorus, to pieces like Forever Child (remembering a boy who died of a brain tumour), the Requiem and Missa San Marco, which dig deeper emotionally. For these, one can forgive the irritatingly chirpy When Daffodils Begin to Peer, complete with its ‘obbligato clapping’. The settings and choice of texts for Forever Child were obviously deeply felt, as is the brief Requiem, originally the final section of Forever Child, but the most striking track is Dover Beach, evoking the ‘moon-blanch’d sand’ and the ‘darkling plain’ of Arnold’s poem. Barry Witherden