Thursday, June 9, 2011
Ronald Corp's "The Ice Mountain" Updates the Bucolic Idyll for Modern Ears
Dubbed "A New Opera for Children," Ronald Corp's The Ice Mountain (Naxos 8.572777) has much in the way of charm and a fairy-tale otherworldliness. It has some of the pastoral rusticity of Vaughn William's opera Hugh the Drover, the choir-writing expressiveness of Britten, plus some of the sensori-motor compulsion of the minimalists.
Since the only opera for children that I am familiar with is Copland's The Hurricane, I don't feel qualified to put The Ice Mountain in some kind of wider context of works of its kind. Nonetheless in its own right it captivates.
The New London Children's Choir sound angelic; the New London Orchestra do a fine job; if some of the vocal soloists seem less than stellar, it is to be expected among young singers and is not a serious drawback.
I found the CD a most pleasant diversion and a worthy addition to my modern English composers cache. If you are a serious Anglophile, you will as well. I should think.