Ronald Corp conducting the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic.

Dutton Epoch CDLX  7233. Released 2009

Leon McCawley is the excellent piano soloist in the concerto.

Author – Jerry

Ronald Corp?  Hmm … isn’t he the conductor of “classical light music”?

Well, yes, he is.  And very good at it he is, too.  But such a description falls far short of doing him full justice.  He conducts some ‘heavier’ music, as well, and I’ll cover some of that in a future review.  Corp is also a composer of considerable merit, and we have here a CD presenting a wide variety of his own orchestral music.  Tonally centred and tuneful, this music grips you from the start.

Guernsey Postcards

A short orchestral suite of three 4-minute movements.

Light music, yes, but of the most tuneful and infectious sort!

It seems impossible not to smile and jiggle your shoulders along with the 1st movement. The 2nd, slow, movement is soulfully sad and very lovely; it slowly builds in complexity and what a great tune there is at the heart of it!  The finale is great, too, and builds to a wonderfully inspiring chorale-like conclusion in the brass.

I love this piece of music, it just makes me happy!

Piano concerto

An altogether more challenging piece, no way is this ‘light music’.  It reminds me of the more melodic side of Prokofiev at times.

The 13 minute 1st movement has big and beefy orchestral / piano episodes interleaved with music of filigree delicacy.

The 2nd movement is dominated by the solo piano, in both percussive and melodic guises, and it seems to me that it is almost a piano sonata with orchestral accompaniment.

The final, 3rd, movement provides an exiting bravura conclusion, intermixed with quieter stretches led by the piano.

This is a big, bold and powerful work that should surely find its way into the concert hall repertoire.

Symphony #1

This is a journey from darkness to light.  The first movement commences ominously with jabbing low brass and whining strings – very atmospheric, but at 8 minutes plus it perhaps is a little over-long.  The ominous mood continues into the slower 2nd movement.  After a while, though, a change to major key tonality in the strings starts to suggest that there may be hope after all! The 3rd movement largely continues this trend and the finale, while showing initial signs of anguish, emerges into a glorious full orchestral peroration, allowing the forces of good the ultimate victory!

Great stuff.

The sound quality is excellent throughout this CD, as is usual for Dutton, and the piano sound is bold and well focussed and captures the percussive nature of some of the music very well.

Varied, interesting and rewarding new music – this is well worth exploring!

Performance:         9

Musical Interest:     9

Sound Quality:        9






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