Frank Corcoran

irish composer

FRANK CORCORAN’S ELECTRIC NEW QUARTET. PREMIERE IN 2019

Frank Corcoran on his new STRING QUARTET :

After Bartok , Ligeti and Lutoslawski how can I write something hot and strange ?

As I approach the age of seventy five, my new quartet’s 3 movements must aim for tautness, “there’s-not-much-time-left” stuff ;
– in plain English, everything must flow from

the opening bar of Mov. 1. , ” Allegro irascibile ma nobile ” .

Already in this opening is the electric tautness that I want from each instrument, each using the same 4 notes ( G . A flat . C sharp and D ) in different order .

My Leitmotiv

provides the building-blocks for the entire first movement ; – for each phrase and colouring and tonal region and

all my derived versions and expressed yells and screams,

all musical protests and denials, they all comes out of the opening sound explosion;

Yes, my architectural ideal here is as old as that of the great string quartets by the Viennese masters , but also

those of Webern , Schoenberg and Alban Berg.

“Ex parvis multa” was the old tag.

My composed unity IS audible ; it’s the thinking ear. The solo cello then announces the exhaustion of my 4-note

material as Movement One collapses.

Very slow Movement Two consists of the melodies which I weave out of my Frank Corcoran 7 -Note Scale ( – consisting

of G. A flat. C sharp. D. E flat. F sharp. A. – it built both the Violin Concerto and the Cello Concerto ), heard

first on the first violin, pizzicato. So melody plus accompaniments. That’s it.

Movement Three I have marked “Allegro Barbaro ” and ” feroce e ruvidissimo ” . The throbbing dyads on each of the four instruments shift and interlock , descend or ascend, sounding
great choirs of 4, 5, 6 and 7 voices.

This is no Irish minimalism but rather the most violent string music I have ever imagined.

The final chords are also all derived from the quartet’s opening. ( “In my end is my beginning”. ) No neo-Bartokisms

or Lutoslawskieries but neo-Corcoran.

High voltage. Kinetic art.

IRISH EMBASSY 27 May 2017 FRANK CORCORAN CONCERT

Please find below a personal invitation to a concert of Irish chamber music presented by renowned Irish composer and

Aosdána member, Frank Corcoran. This special programme of Irish music, new and old, will be performed by the

Pratoleva Piano Trio, members of the National Symphony Orchestra of Ireland, and will feature the Italian premieres

of Frank Corcoran’s Piano Trio and Duetti Irlandesi on “sean nós” old Irish melodies (2016 ). The concert will

take place at the Embassy of Ireland, Villa Spada on the Gianicolo on Saturday 27 May at 6pm.

MORE FRANK CORCORAN 2018 COMPOSER WORKS

May 17 2018 Belfast 9 LOOKS AT PIERROT ( Fls/Clars/Pf / V/ Vcl ) Hard Rain Soloists

May 12 2018 Bayern 2 Wissen Frank Corcoran Portrait ” Silbensang und Poesie ”

Jan 27 2018 Hamburg BILDER HOEREN / TOENE SEHEN ” Concert ( incl. 2. Symphony, 5 Lieder, Vokalise )

Feb. 20 2018 Finished IT SOARED A BIRD for Emma Coulthard, Cardiff ( Flutes and Pianoforte )

Jan. 20 2018 Finished QUASI UN DITTICO for String Orchestra ( Sreten Krstic and Zagrebacki Solisti )

NEW FRANK CORCORAN WORKS AND PERFORMANCES IN 2018

Jan. 27 Dublin Piccolo Quartetto Filarmonico . Kaleidoscope Club. Malachy Robinson Quartet.

May 14 Orvieto Teatro Mancinelli “IL CONCERTO DI DUBLINO” Hot Dialogues ( Viola and Piano ) Pratoleva Duo

May 15 Bolsena Piccolo Teatro Cavour ” ” ” ”

September 1 Amelia Theatre, Umbria FRANK CORCORAN PORTRAIT ( “An Irish Composer Invents Himself ” )

Nov. 11 North German Radio NDR ” ”

Dec. 1. Concertzender Holland ” ”

Dec. 16. Canterbury Cathedral AN IRISH CHRISTMAS CAROL

Dec. 18 Little Dublin Singers AVE VERUM

Dec. 19 St. Patrick’s Cathedral Dublin ”

March 17 2019 New York Church Of Christ And St. Stephen CLARINET CONCERTO ( NorthSouth / Max Lifchitz )
( Frank Corcoran at 75 on St. Patrick’s Day, N Y C )

A very modest e/cribble & dribble on, yes, once again ! , – my SELF/ESTEEM and its post/Christmas enemies …

I have once again caught myself out and copped myself on…

Among my young composer’ s works and sweated pomps from 1970 ( I was 26 years old, now c’mon ! ) to 1990 ( I eventually became 46, bruised but not bowed ) there are

, strong, extraordinary gob-smackers and ear-whackers among my musical compositions. Certainly. – So how come I had so long ignored, mistrusted, was

uncomfortable with and silent about these creative achievements ?

Today, late in the day , I got my hands again on a catalogue of the young Frank Corcoran’s long-forgotten compositions from all genres. seeing again my youthful music, I

was knocked sideways … I must ask again : Why so long my lack of ” appreciation” of some of my own works which I now briefly mention here.

Take my early MEDIEVAL IRISH EPIGRAMMES of 1973 – here is a crisply fresh handling of delightful Early Celtic texts ( and that choral HERR JESU CHRIST

of a few years later tackles the Baroque text of Paul Eber, with dark spirituality. – its quasi Black Death – terror of Late-Renaissance Europe .

Again, fresh and courageous colours, quasi instrumetal.. ).

THREE SYMPHONIC PIECES ( ” Pictures From My Exhibition ” ) explores just that, the instrumentating pencil as paint-brush. Retro- and Pro- and

Perspective in these dramatic scores .

Only now in late reflection do I see how my young Irish composer’s lonely struggle against a viciousl ocean of ignorance and anti-art

prejudice and , yerra , general bankruptcy of spirit in the Dublin of my tender years whacked and weakened continuously a brave young composer from the Outer

Yoblands. Yes. -Out there in these Sloblands which I had crawled from was not only Irish total depression or economic hopelessness

but a far worse moral failure in our “middle class ” to accept good Irish art or artists or to understand me as a

composing artist on my Irish island ; to ever dare to imagine with me the boundaries of the musically permissible.

It was woeful. Invincible

ignorance weakens . The pressure was enormous.

But I did not compromise; I decided not to give in in my composing to cheap solutions. Forge strong musical forms and don’t repeat yourself…

The Piano Trio, my break-through ( in 1978 ) to a newly crafted macro-counterpoint was my extraordinary victory over both my musical material and my “musical” ( ! )

ambience. It was bliss and Hell to be alive , certainly.

Before withdrawing to Berlin in 1979 on a Berlin Artist’s Scholarship, the Wind Quintet of that same

year shows highest qualities of, I’ll say it again and again , imagined compositional courage ( see especially the opening bars for those fresh , leaping upper

woodwinds ) .

No, it was no fun for me to have to fight dopyness and intellectual laziness, to persist in a lonely composer’s microcosmos .

The fight ( – heroic ? Certainly, heroic ! ) all but weakened my creative

energies – could have snuffed them out . And yet those three works which I carpentered and crafted in that first

Berlin ” annus mirabilis ” . my Symphonies Of Symphonies for 23 Wind, the there begun

2. Symphony and the first piece ever which I created in the electronic studies of the Technical University are as

huge as any orchestral, chamber or computer-works I have ever attempted since.

Many times I faltered, nearly let that dreadful indifference and lack of resonance take over. The opera ,

“Gilgamesh” I comosed entirely alone by myself in

the domestic terror and mental insanity of 1986 – 1989.

– Time to stop listing jousts and survival strategies and catastrophes and recoveries, I suppose. A list is only a

list.

By 1990 in distant America, I had crafted my “Music For The Book Of Kells”,

my sounding portrait of Early Iron Ireland. Hmmm, I suppose I had won through , bloodied but unbowed. gone strange

in my head and in my musical images.

The lesson which I ( culpably ? ) forgot for many decades since was : head down, forward fighting; never for an

instant give in to the barbarians and Yahoos.

Never.

A VERY MODEST E-CRIBBLE AND – DRIBBLE

I have once again caught myself out and copped myself on…

Among my young composer’ s works and sweated pomps from 1970 ( I was 26 years old, now c’mon ! ) to 1990 ( I

eventually became 46, bruised but not bowed ) there are

, strong, extraordinary gob-smackers and ear-whackers among my musical compositions. Certainly.

– So how come I had so long ignored, mistrusted, was uncomfortable with and silent about these creative achievements ?

Today, late in the day , I got my hands again on a catalogue of the young Frank Corcoran’s long-forgotten

compositions from all genres. seeing again my youthful music, I

was knocked sideways … Why so long my lack of ” appreciation” of some of my own works which I now briefly

mention here.

Take the HERR JESU CHRIST which a few years later tackles the Baroque text of Paul Eber, its dark spirituality.

its quasi Black Death – terror of Late-Renaissance Europe .

Again, fresh and courageous colours, quasi instrumetal.. ).

THREE SYMPHONIC PIECES ( ” Pictures From My Exhibition ” ) explores just that, the instrumentating pencil as

paint-brush.

Only now do I see how my young Irish composer’s lonely struggle against a viciousl ocean of ignorance and anti-art

prejudice and , yerra , general bankruptcy of spirit in the Dublin of my tender years whacked and weakened

continuously a brave young composer from the Outer

Yoblands. Yes. -Out there in the Sloblands from which I had crawled was not only Irish total depression or economic

hopelessness

but a far worse moral failure in our “middle class ” to accept good Irish art or artists or to understand me as a

composing artist on my Irish island ; to ever dare to imagine with me the boundaries of the musically permissible.

It was woeful. Invincible

ignorance weakens . The pressure was enormous.

But I did not compromise; I decided not to give in in my composing to cheap solutions. Forge strong musical forms and don’t repeat yourself…

The Piano Trio, my break-through ( in 1978 ) to a newly crafted macro-counterpoint was my extraordinary victory over

both my musical material and my “musical” ( ! )

ambience. It was bliss and Hell to be alive , certainly.

Before withdrawing to Berlin in 1979 on a Berlin Artist’s Scholarship, the Wind Quintet of that same

year shows highest qualities of, I’ll say it again and again , imagined compositional courage ( see especially the

opening bars for those fresh , leaping upper

woodwinds ) .

No, it was no fun for me to have to fight dopyness and intellectual laziness, to persist in a lonely composer’s microcosmos .

The fight ( – heroic ? Certainly, heroic ! ) all but weakened my creative

energies – could have snuffed them out . And yet those three works which I carpentered and crafted in that first

Berlin ” annus mirabilis ” . my Symphonies Of Symphonies for 23 Wind, the there begun

2. Symphony and the first piece ever which I created in the electronic studies of the Technical University are as

huge as any orchestral, chamber or computer-works I have ever attempted since.

Many times I faltered, nearly let that dreadful indifference and lack of resonance take over. The opera ,

“Gilgamesh” I comosed entirely alone by myself in

the domestic terror and mental insanity of 1986 – 1989.

– Time to stop listing jousts and survival strategies and catastrophes and recoveries, I suppose. A list is only a list.

By 1990 in distant America, I had crafted “Music For The Book Of Kells”,

my sounding portrait of Early Iron Ireland. Hmmm, I suppose I had won through , bloodied but unbowed. gone strange in my head and in my musical images.

The lesson which I ( culpably ? ) forgot for many decades since was : head down, forward fighting; never for an

instant give in to the barbarians and Yahoos.

Never.

WHERE FROM MY LITTLE VANITIES ?

Where from my little vanities ? I am too good to write for a concert performance ?

No slave near with his

honeyed tongue .

Land me a creamy parformance. Quality plus strawberries plus notoriety plus the palm.

Since I was about six, I dodged various “realities ” , psychological ( ” It can’t be thus so it is not thus “… and other

models ) and spatial ( – eg. where led which road to Lorrha, to the Mighty Shannon, the silver treasures of the

Silvermines ? Wrere was it ? That golden calf of Knockshegawna ? – and, well, personal.

‘ Nuff said.

From where this ? Whence my Great Disturbance ? ( – wanted to change mother with seven, father with

seventeen plus…. ?

My great 7 MINIATURES for Luigidi Filippi’s bow and knock and pluck in Gravesend Concert. Then that birth : the PIANO

TRIO I crafted and stretched and mangled and polished exactly 12 months ago here in , even then , cold

Hamburg – the viola and its worked over cello, my four exquisitely poised movements with the piano.

Villa

Spada and Bolsena and Hugh Lane will shake. )

2015 HOT SUMMER

Frank Corcoran’s hot, hot summer in Italy will introduce two hot “IL CONCERTO DI DUBLINO ” concerts , one

in hot Orvieto in Umbria and the other in hot Bolsena by the lake.

Frank’s three friends from the N.S.O.I. , Martin Johnson , Cello, Adele Johnson, Viola and Fergal Caulfield, Piano,
will present a Piano Trio programme – Frank’s tale of two cities – at the Teatro Mancinelli , Orvieto, on July 31 and a similar programme in Bolsena’s Piccolo Teatro Cavour on August 2.

It will consist of music by Schubert, Brahms ( – his mighty Piano Trio as climax ) , David Popper and new

work by Frank himself, from the 8 Irish Duets for Cello and Piano.

These little miniatures are based on Irish Slow Airs, eight of the greatest sean nos songs . As the composer insists, his melodic distillations are neither neo-romantic settings, nor neo- Bartok, nor neo-minimalist and yet neo-Corcoran.

Up till now they consist of : Sean O Duibhir An Ghleanna, A Mhairin De Barra, A Una Bhain 1. and 2., A Roisin Dubh,
Na Conneries, Im Aonar Seal and Priosun Cluain Meala.

The first three will be premiered in Orvieto and Bolsena.

Frank Corcoran

FRANK CORCORAN’S MUSIC ON NDR . KULTUR PRISMAMUSIK 20.11.2017

NDR.KULTUR

20:00 Prisma Musik Thema: Kleine Schule des musikalischen Hörens.

Frank Corcoran hört das Cellokonzert von Edward Elgar

Elgars langsame Passagen zerreißen mich innerlich gerade… Es ist wie das Destillat einer Träne, gestand Jacqueline du Pré einmal, die vielleicht berühmteste Interpretin dieses Werks. Kurz nach dem Ersten Weltkrieg entstand das Cellokonzert, das man einmal die Elegie auf eine untergegangene Zivilisation genannt hat, in der ländlichen Abgeschiedenheit seines Landhauses in Sussex. Das Werk markiert.

5 gleichsam den Gegenpol zu Pomp and Circumstance in Elgars Schaffen, eine Musik des Abschieds, verhaltener und sparsamer in den Mitteln als alle Orchesterwerke der Vorkriegszeit.

22:00 Variationen zum Thema Musikbeispiele zum Themenabend

Edward Elgar: Konzert für Violoncello und Orchester e-moll op. 85 Steven Isserlis, Violoncello Philharmonia Orchestra London Ltg.: Paavo Järvi Klavierquintett a-moll op. 84 Pihtipudas Kvintetti

Frank Corcoran: Cellokonzert Martin Johnson, Violoncello RTE National Symphony Orchestra Ltg.: Gavin Maloney

Frank Coecoran “Rhapsodic Bowing ” for 8 Celli. ” “

October 2001 CONCERT

FRANK CORCORAN DUBLIN OCTOBER 17 2001

Wed, Oct 17, 2001,

6 Bagatelles for Wind Quintet – Ligeti

Hebraische Balladen – Ulrich Leyendecker

die Steine – Peter Michael Hamel

Music for the Book of Kells; Wind Quintet-Sweeney’s Wind-Cries; Trauerfelder-Gort an Bhroin – Frank Corcoran

Ligeti’s Bagatelles of 1953 now seem to him to be “absolutely prehistoric”. It is true that they sound rather like a baroque suite with touches of Stravinsky and Bartok, but they are eminently listenable to, have an individual voice and still sound fresh. The Daedalus Wind Quintet played them with bite and rhythmic vivacity.

The other work for wind quintet last Sunday in the Hugh Lane Gallery was
” Sweeney’s Wind-Cries ” by FRANK CORCORAN who, born in Tipperary and resident in Hamburg, combines a knowledge of Irish culture, including the prehistoric, with a compostitional freedom acquired on the Continent.

In his music it is as if the sounds of nature are transformed, but only half tamed, so there is a nervous balance between discipline and what sounds like licence.
Each of his works immediately creates an atmosphere,
strong but impossible to particularise.

” Music for the Book of Kells ”
opens with a solo for tubular bells, which may suggest the life of monasticism, but when the other members of the R.I.A.M. Percussion Ensemble join in, with much use of the bass drum, it seems that more elemental forces are brought into play.
And when the piano enters, toward the end, played by the composer, it utters primitive sounds not at all like a piano.

” Gort an Bhroin” is perhaps the best embodiment of the recital’s title: “Irish and German Tonal Landscapes”.
In it four percussionists make a threnody for the victims of Auschwitz.

The work opens with tubular bells, but with the accompaniment of a snare drum.
The two effects, rightly, are a world apart.