Symphony No. 1
DUTTON EPOCH CDLX 7233
Best known for his choral pieces, Ronald firmly establishes himself here as a homegrown talent of significant merit.
All so neatly written and performed as to give great enjoyment, much stimulation, and the wish for more – and the hope that the composer will in future be taken a little more seriously than hitherto…
…The mastery of the orchestral palette is complete and has obviously been maturing in his subconscious for some time – undoubtedly aided by a detailed knowledge of the orchestra gained from his extensive conducting experience. Flexibility of time signatures gives a freedom to the phrasing that is completely natural and satisfying. Another Corp characteristic – here and elsewhere on this recording – is the use of short motifs and phrases, repeated and developed in different guises. The sparing use of the timpani is particularly effective. I imagine that the orchestra rather enjoyed playing this music, for all sections are rewarded. The courage to ‘come out’ with this Symphony was the result of writing two string quartets and, finding that they ‘worked’, taking the plunge on a larger scale…
…On the evidence of this recording, there is clearly so much wonderful music in this man, which he knows how to express. He should no longer limit himself to works for church, children and voices, however valuable they may be in themselves. This is a splendid disc – enjoy it!
Garry Humphreys, MusicWeb International
Even more surprising [than the Piano Concerto] is the Symphony. At only 20 minutes it is, nevertheless, a complete symphonic journey, like Roy Harris’ Third Symphony. It opens very darkly in the low brass, and over four seamless movements progresses to the light and euphoria of the ending. In its sense of struggle and optimism in adversity, it reminded me of Nielsen’s 4th Symphony, ‘The Inextinguishable’ or Sallinen’s 4th, but certainly not of any previous British composer I can think of except, perhaps, Robert Simpson. A major work and a major new voice in British music.
Amazon review by ‘Code 17’, December 2009
The Symphony No. 1 is, unsurprisingly, a darker work [than Guernsey Postcards] of considerable power and also contains memorable, somewhat minimalist, material. It reminded me a bit of the fine Symphony by the American composer, Steven Gerber, on the Chandos label. Worth investigating.
Amazon review by Jeffrey Davis, December 2009
This disc is simply thrilling! I knew of Ronald Corp as a conductor but had no idea he had written such wonderful orchestral pieces. And there is such variety here from the lighter Guernsey Postcards, which ought to be regularly played on the radio, to the heavier Piano Concerto (I particularly like the finale) and a wonderfully coherent and exciting Symphony which I have played countless times! Corp says that this is his Symphony No. 1 – I hope he writes a lot more. Highly recommended.
Amazon review by Leslie Grieves, December 2009
Corp’s vivid pieces are given impressive readings by the RLPO
Symphony No. 1 is even more recent [than Guernsey Postcards], written in 2009, and offers a wholly weightier vision, starting with an ominously dark slow introduction lasting just over eight minutes, calling attention with strong gestures. That leads without a break into another slow section beginning with an attractive sequence for strings alone which brings echoes of the Third Symphony of Roy Harris. Then comes the jolly Scherzo with running triplets and off-beat syncopations, while the fourth section of this work in one massive movement brings an optimistic conclusion in a firm major key. Dutton is certainly to be congratulated on offering such a worthwhile disc of British music otherwise likely to be neglected, superbly played and vividly recorded.
Edward Greenfield, Gramophone, May 2010