Ronald Corp

Conductor & Composer

Playing with the Sun

Playing with the Sun 1To purchase this score, please contact the office.













Programme Notes

1   We’re out of School – Black and White World – Looking down on London – Swing the Ship, swing
2   Lightnin’ Boy and Mama Boom (Based on a myth from Nigeria)
3   The Peacock Bird and the God, Indra (Based on a myth from Asia)
4   The Game of Kings (Based on a legend from Ireland)
5   The Eclipse
6   Playing with the Sun (Children of One Mother)

Commissioned by Hammersmith and Fulham Music Service, and funded by the National Foundation for Youth Music, ‘Playing with the Sun’ is a children’s cantata, subtitled ‘A Songstory inspired by William Morris, local history, myths and legends from around the world, and the pupils of Hammersmith and Fulham’.

The work developed between January and July 2002: creative writer Marilyn Floyde held workshops in twelve Hammersmith primary schools, collaborating with pupils on the lyrics to original songs designed to celebrate the cultural diversity and history of the borough.  Ronald Corp set the final libretto to music which was then performed at Hammersmith and Fulham Town Hall on 8 July, 2002.

The purpose of the commission was to help develop after-school choirs within the borough.  Choral workshops led by Ronald Corp and Jen McKie (Hammersmith and Fulham Music Co-ordinator) took place across the borough, honing the skills needed for communal choral singing.  Pupils broadened their singing techniques, learnt breathing exercises and acquired knowledge of harmony and repertoire; they came to realise that singing can be fun, and that everyone can be part of a choir.  Teachers also developed key skills in choral training, enabling them to teach singing and support school choirs at the end of the project.

The inspiration for the work came from William Morris’ pamphlet How we live and how we might live: ‘To feel mere life a pleasure; to enjoy moving one’s limbs and exercising bodily powers; to play, as it were, with the sun and wind and rain’.  In the cantata, William Morris appears as the ‘Master’ of ‘The Rockingbird’, a kind of fantasy ‘ship of destiny’ which can travel in any direction, and also backwards or forwards in time.  Through their encounters, he helps the children in the story realise how connected individuals are to each other and to the past.