String Quarter Nos. 1 and 2, Country Matter
…The First Quartet, which draws its inspiration from the character and habitat of that noble bird the bustard, is, like its companion piece, well made and securely in an English tradition voiced with supple energy.
Geoffrey Norris, The Telegraph, March 2011
[While at Oxford University] Corp met the poet, Steven Mainwaring, who provided the words for Country Matters, seven settings for tenor and string trio. Corp describes them as ‘variously poignant and riotously outrageous’, others may describe them as ‘nonsense poems’, but they often contain a questioning message. At times the words are spoken… at others a singing voice is used, both being used in the final and most extended song, ‘City of Wells’. The two String Quartets… are purely tonal in its modern guise… the overall character of the Second being one of happiness… The Magginis continue their impressive British music series…
David Denton, Naxos website, March 2011
First Haydn’s Lark, now Ronald Corp’s The Bustard – a noble bird enthusiastically eaten by the Victorians and currently being rehabilitated on Salisbury Plain. The second movement of Corp’s Quartet (Mesto semplice) paints the Plain in atmospheric darkness… the opening to the Finale depicts the giant bird’s gait and deportment. The opening Moderato and Scherzo are more succinct and mobile: fluttering ostinatos successfully mimic the creature’s flight, and soaring lyrical ideas its ascent into the ether. These are lovely movements.
Quartet No. 2 is, in Corp’s words, a ‘sister work’. The three fast movements rely… on repetitious short motifs passed from one instrument to another… the work certainly creates an upbeat impression, with a more introspective slow movement. Between the Quartets is Country Matters [which are] set with brio, to a deftly fashioned trio accompaniment, in a style mixing Façade-style Waltonian Sprechgesang with melodic writing. Mark Wilde and the Maggini Quartet show exemplary enthusiasm.
Performance: Four Stars
Recording: Four Stars
Terry Blain, BBC Music Magazine, October 2011
…It might be too cute to say that this music takes flight, but it does. You do not need to think of a bird to go soaring with it. Corp has written some gorgeous melodies that cannot fail to uplift you. The second movement is a lovely evocation of Salisbury Plain and contains some absolutely enchanting night music. The Second Quartet is… charged with joy and exuberance from the birth of a baby boy. The Maggini Quartet plays with its usual assurance and expressivity. I defy anyone not to be inspirited by these totally traditional, tonally oriented quartets.
Robert R. Reilly, Catholic News Agency, October 2011