Frank Corcoran

irish composer


I’ve come from my ” Salasso” hour today .

The needle searched and found the red, red blood.

But what has this to do , is my dismay,

With pyroclastic, heavy tephra , say ?

Sonnets about volcanoes versus writing

About too much of iron in my veins ?

Vesuvio’s a fiery, red-hot , fightin’

Mountain out to burn my aches and pains.

That needle sucked it out, my ferretin,

My vital , sanguine, life-juice, good and mean.

But yet my thoughts were focused on my death

By Etna’s enormous heat and pent-up power.

The saline fluid sang , but I could cower

Glad my roasting hour had not come yet.


Music Current Artistic Director, Fergal Dowling talks to CMC about the upcoming new music festival, which takes

place in Dublin from 10–13 April 2019.

What is the main aim of Music Current?

Music Current is an annual festival of contemporary music which started in 2016 and grew out the work that Dublin Sound Lab had been doing since 2008. We had always organised our own concerts and produced our own music, as well as music by other composers. But in 2016 we wanted to distinguish between our own creative work and music of other people that we also wanted to produce. So the programming is similar in style to what Dublin Sound Lab has always been doing, but Music Current is our chance to showcase other people’s work.

How does the programming differ from other new music festivals?

The festival is called Music Current because we try to present music that is literally current. Most of the featured works are very recent. The main objective is to present music that has currency; that is current, contemporary, fluid and relevant to our time. Many of the works we present require electronic forces during performance, which is another play on the idea of ‘current’, but the use of electronic forces is not a central concern.

This year you are focusing on Irish composer Frank Corcoran with a concert of some of his electro-acoustic works. What was your motivation behind selecting these works?

We are presenting three of Frank Corcoran’s electro-acoustic works (Quasi una Missa – 1999, Tradurre Tradire – 2004, and Sweeney’s Vision – 1997) in the opening festival concert on Wednesday, 10 April at 7pm.

Dating from 1997–2004, these are amongst the oldest works we have ever presented. This slightly contradicts what I said about ‘current’ music, but I think Frank’s music has an earthy timeless quality. His music doesn’t concern itself with fashions or trends, and these three electro-acoustic works aren’t overly involved with displays of electronic technique that might make the work sound or feel dated.
In fact, they still sound very fresh and direct.

The Light Gleams: a portrait of Frank Corcoran

Historically, these are some of the most significant electronic works by any Irish composer, although they may not now be so well known to Dublin audiences.
So it is important to recognise their significance.
These works were originally written for radio, and by their nature are already relatively accessible – in fact they
are decidedly ‘radiophonic’, and very effective in this context.

Sometimes ‘tape’ music concerts can be seen as being rather stuffy and academic, and music programmers may be a little frightened to engage with the form. This is something I wanted to challenge directly.

But above all, I greatly admire the determined Irish-centred character of Frank’s work and his willingness to engage head-on with themes of myth and language. This subject matter may be somewhat unfashionable, but it is this disregard for trends that allow the works to maintain their freshness and directness of appeal. When they are heard together in a seamless concert presentation, these works take on a very forceful coherence and logic. They unfold in a slow deep rhythm, which makes a compelling concert experience outside the normal flow of time.


North/South Consonance 2010-2011 Concert Schedule
Nine Concerts in the visually appealing and acoustically
superior setting of Christ and St. Stephen’s Church
Location: 120 West 69th Street (between Broadway & Columbus), New York City

Max Lifchitz, conductor
The North/South Chamber Orchestra

Monday, March 14, 2011 at 8 PM
St. Patrick’s Day Gala





Songs of Terror and Love

Max Lifchitz, conductor
The North/South Consonance Ensemble




Veröffentlicht am 30.04.2004 | Lesedauer: 2 Minuten
Von Katja Engler
Kultur kompakt

Das Studio 21 für aktuelle Musik gibt heute um 18 Uhr, im Mendelssohn-Saal der Hochschule für Musik und Theater ein

Geburtstagskonzert für den irischen Hochschulkomponisten Frank Corcoran (60).

Zur Aufführung kommen u.a. seine


Ice-Etchings für Cello, Joycepeak-Musik, Bachs 3. Suite für Solo-Cello. Nach dem Konzert findet ein Gespräch mit dem Komponisten statt. Der Eintritt ist frei.


Haikus in der Kathedrale:

Frank Corcoran erhält den Seán Ó Riada Preis 2012

Frank Corcoran erhält den Seán Ó Riada Preis 2012. Foto: Hans-Dieter Grünefeld
(nmz) –

Ein substanzielles Sujet für zeitgenössische Chormusik zu finden, erfordert ein Sensorium für Stimmen und stimmhafte Befindlichkeiten.
Zumal in sakraler Umgebung, zumal im katholisch, aber eben auch keltisch geprägten Irland. Da findet Musik manchmal in musikalischen Zwischenwelten statt. So beim Cork International Choral Festival mit dem Seán Ò Riada Composition Competition.

02.05.2012 – Von Hans-Dieter Grünefeld

Zu diesem Wettbewerb müssen Komponisten, deren Wohnsitz oder Geburtsort in Irland ist, unter einem Pseudonym Originale für einen a cappella Chor einreichen, um zu gewährleisten, dass nicht die Person, sondern nur die künstlerische Qualität beurteilt wird.

Im Jahr 2012 waren es dreiunddreißig Werke, und eine Expertenjury entschied sich,
“Two Unholy Haikus” von Frank Corcoran mit dem ersten Preis auszuzeichnen, weil “sie den Sängern gefallen werden – und das ist sehr wichtig”.
Außerdem zeigen sie “einen genuinen Sinn für gute Gestaltung und Humor”.

Eigenschaften, die auch der Namenspatron des Wettbewerbs gehabt haben muss. Denn ebenso wie Frank Corcoran war Seán Ó Riada, geboren 1931 als John Reidy in Cork und in London 1971 gestorben, ein klassisch gebildeter, kosmopolitisch erfahrener Komponist mit Avantgarde-Ambitionen.
Auch Seán Ó Riada lebte als Musiker zwischen verschiedenen Kulturwelten, indem er maßgeblich die Authentizität irischer Folklore popularisierte.

Alte Sprachen, Theologie und Musik studierte Frank Corcoran, geboren 1944 in Tipperary, in Dublin, Rom und Berlin, bevor er Professor für Komposition in Hamburg wurde.
Die (keltische) Geschichte Irlands und Poesie europäischer Literaten sind wichtige Themen seiner Kompositionen.
Das unbedingt Humane sucht Frank Corcoran auch in kritischer Auseinandersetzung mit dem Erbe der Religion, exemplarisch in den selbst verfassten “Two Unholy Haikus” (lyrische Kurzform in drei Zeilen aus Japan),
die sakrale und profane Aspekte im Titel verbinden.

Die Premiere der “Two Unholy Haikus” mit dem National Chamber Choir of Ireland, Leitung: Paul Hillier, wird am 4. Mai 2012 in der St. Fin Barre’s Cathedral, Cork, bei Anwesenheit des Komponisten stattfinden. In einem Seminar über neue Chormusik wird dieses Werk am folgenden Sonntag im Stack Theatre diskutiert.

Moderne Vokalmusik hat in Cork ungebrochene Tradition.
Weiterführende Informationen:
Cork International Choral Festival

Website Frank Corocoran

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“I came late to art music; childhood soundscapes live on. The best work with imagination/intellect must be exorcistic-laudatory-excavatory. I am a passionate believer in “Irish” dream-landscape, two languages, polyphony of history, not ideology or programme. No Irish composer has yet dealt adequately with our past. The way forward – newest forms and technique (for me especially macro-counterpoint) – is the way back to deepest human experience.”[2]

Born in Borrisokane, County?Tipperary, Corcoran studied at Dublin, Maynooth (1961–4), Rome (1967–9) and Berlin (1969–71), where he was a pupil of Boris?Blacher. He was a music inspector for the Irish government Department of Education from 1971 to 1979, after which he took up a composer fellowship from the Berlin?Künstlerprogramm (1980–1). He has taught in Berlin (1981), Stuttgart (1982) and Hamburg, where he has been professor of composition and theory in the Staatliche?Hochschule?für?Musik?und?darstellende?Kunst (1983–2008). He was a visiting professor and Fulbright?scholar at the University?of?Wisconsin–Milwaukee in the U.S. in 1989-90 and has been a guest lecturer at, among others, CalArts, Harvard?University, Princeton?University, Boston?College, New?York?University, and Indiana?University.[3]

Corcoran has been a member of Aosdána, the Irish academy of creative artists, since its inception in 1983.

He was the first Irish composer to have had a symphony premiered in Vienna (1st Symphony, Symphonies of Symphonies of Wind, in 1981).[4]

Corcoran lives in Germany and Italy.


In the late 1970s, Corcoran developed a technique he calls “macro-counterpoint”. Related to similar approaches by Witold?Lutos?awski and György?Ligeti, it “refers to the contrapuntal treatment of layers of sound as opposed to the traditional focus of the intervallic compatibility of one line with another”[5] as in traditional counterpoint. The first composition in which he applied this technique was the Piano Trio (1978). Here, the three instruments each form an independent layer of sound, moving at their own speed and in individual time signatures, numbers of bars, etc. The individual lines remain transparent throughout. At specific points in the score, the musicians are asked to pause in order to start again simultaneously.[6]

Corcoran’s strong identification with his Irish heritage has led to many compositions inspired by Celtic Irish mythology, and modern Irish literature. A series of works in various genres written between 1996 and 2003 focus on the life of “Mad Sweeney”, a minor 7th-century king from the north of Ireland who is the subject of the ancient Irish tale Buile?Shuibhne. Many other works also have an Irish focus, including the choral Nine Medieval Irish Epigrams (1973), the percussion piece Music for the Book of Kells (1990) and some works referring to the work of Irish writers James?Joyce, Samuel?Beckett, Gabriel?Rosenstock, and Seamus?Heaney.

Another series of works with titles beginning on the word “Quasi …”, written since 1999 (on-going), highlights and interprets concepts such as visions or musical forms and expressions such as concertino, lamento, fuga, sarabanda, pizzicato, etc. which serve as both inspiration for the music and as creative raw material.

Corcoran has won a number of awards throughout his career. Recent awards include:

Feis Ceoil Prize, 1973
Varming Prize, 1974
Dublin Symphony Orchestra Prize, 1975
Studio Akustische Kunst, Cologne, in 1995 (for Joycepeak Music)
Bourges International Electro-acoustic Music Competition, 1999 (for Sweeney’s Vision)
EMS Prize, Stockholm, 2002 (for Quasi Una Missa)
Sean Ó Riada Memorial Prize at the Cork International Choral Festival, 2011
First Prize Outright of the International Foundation for Choral Music, 2013 (for 8 Haikus)

Selected compositions


Symphony No. 1 (1980)
Symphony No. 2 (1981)
Concerto for String Orchestra (1982)
Symphony No. 3 (1994)
Mikrokosmoi (1994)
Symphony No. 4 (1996)
Quasi un canto (2002)
Quasi un concertino (2003)
Quasi una visione (2004)
Quasi una fuga (2005)
Violin Concerto (2011)
Variations on Myself (2012), chamber orch
Cello Concerto (2014)
Quasi una storia (2015)
Quasi un concerto per clarinetto ed archi (2017)

Chamber ensembles

Wind Quintet No. 2 (1978)
Piano Trio (1978), vn, vc, pf
Shadows of Gilgamesh (1988), fl, ob, cl, hn, tpt, trombones, perc, pf, vn, va, vc, db
Music for the Book of Kells (1990), 5perc, pf
Four Concertini of Ice (1993), fl, ob, cl, hn, vn, vc, db, perc
Trauerfelder (1995), 4perc
Wind Quintet No. 3 (1999)
Sweeney’s Smithereens (2000), fl, pic, cl+bcl, perc, pf, vn, db
Quasi un amore (2002), fl, gui
Quasi una Sarabande (2008), cl, bn, hn, 2vn, va, vc, db
Clarinet Quintet (2011)
Rhapsodic Bowing (2012), 8vc
Nine Looks at Pierrot (2013), fl+picc, cl+bcl, vn, vc, pf
Quasi una Storia (2014), 8vn, 2va, 2vc, db
8 Irish Duets for Cello and Piano (2015)
Piano Trio (2016), va, vc, pf
String Quartet (2016)

Solo instrumental

Sonata for Organ (1973)
The Quare Hawk (1974), flute
Hernia (1977), double bass
Changes (1979), piano
Variations on ‘Caleno costure me’ (1982), harpsichord
Three Pieces for Solo Clarinet (1987)
Three Pieces for Guitar (1990)
Ice-Etchings No. 2 (1996), cello
Sweeney’s Total Rondo (2002), piano
Variations on ‘A Mháirín de Barra’ (2004), viola
Nine Pratoleva Pearls (2008), piano
A Dark Song (2011), bass clarinet
In the Deep Heart’s Core (2011), harp
Snapshot (2012), cello
Seven Miniatures for Solo Violin (2013)

Vocal and choral

Nine Medieval Irish Epigrams (1973), satb
Ceol an Aifrinn (1980)
Gilgamesh (1990), 7 soli, satb, orchestra
Nine Aspects of a Poem (1989; rev. 2003), satb, vn
Carraig aonair (1976), soprano, alto, pf
Kiesel (1980), soprano, 2vn, va
Cúig amhráin de chuid Gabriel Rosenstock (1980), soprano, vn, vc, pf
Dán Aimhirgín (1989), soprano, va, bcl, pf
Buile Suibhne (1998), fl+pic+afl, ob, cl+bcl, hn, perc, vn, va, vc, db, spkr
Quasi una melodia (2001), soprano, tsax, va, mar, pf
Quasi un pizzicato (2004), fl, hp, pf, perc, spkr
The Light Gleams (2006), soprano, bcl, vn, vc
Four Orchestral Prayers (2006), mezzo, orch
Five Lieder (2010), tenor, pf
Songs of Terror and Love (2011), bass, fl+picc+afl, cl+bcl, pf, vn+va, vc
Eight Haikus (2012), satb
My Alto Rhapsodies (2014), alto, orch
An Irish Christmas Carol (2014), satb


Balthazar’s Dream (1980)
Farewell Symphonies (1982), with speaker & orch
Sweeney’s Vision (1997)
Quasi una missa (1999)
Tradurre – Tradire (2005)


Piano Trio; The Quare Hawk; String Quartet No. 1; Gestures of Sound and Silence, Mythologies, performed by Hesketh Trio, Madeleine Berkeley (fl), Testore Quartet, Aisling Drury-Byrne (vc), Frank Corcoran (pf), Roger Doyle (perc), on: Self Help 101 (LP, 1980).
Mikrokosmoi, performed by Irish Chamber Orchestra, Fionnuala Hunt (cond.), on: Black Box Music BBM 1013 (CD, 1998).
Symphonies No. 2, 3, and 4, performed by National Symphony Orchestra of Ireland, Colman Pearce (cond.), on: Marco Polo 8.225107 (CD, 1999).
Mad Sweeney; Music for the Book of Kells; Wind Quintet; Sweeney’s Vision, performed by Das Neue Werk NDR Ensemble, Percussion Modern, Stuttgart Wind Quintet, on: Black Box Music BBM 1026 (CD, 1999).
Trauerfelder, performed by Modern Percussion, Joachim Winkler (cond.), on: Hochschule für Musik und Theater Hamburg [no label code] (CD, 2000).
Quasi una missa; Piano Trio; Balthasar’s Dream; Five Rosenstock Lieder; Wind Quintet No. 3; Sweeney’s Farewell, performed by Hesketh Trio, Sabine Sommerfeld (soprano), Hamburg Trio, Daedalus Quintet, on: col legno WWE 1CD 20214 (CD, 2003).
Sweeney’s Smithereens; Five Trauerfelder; Tradurre – Tradire; Concert for String Orchestra; Five Songs Without Words, performed by Ensemble für Neue Musik München & Dieter Cichewicz (cond.), Percussion-Ensemble München & Dieter Cichewicz (cond.), Die Maulwerker & electronics, Irish Chamber Orchestra & David Robertson (cond.), Das Neue Werk NDR Ensemble & Dieter Cichewicz (cond.), on: Composers Art Label cal-13017 (CD, 2003).
Quasi una visione; Ice-Etchings No. 2; Quasi un concerto; Quasi Variations on ‘A Mhárín de Bharra’; Quasi un pizzicato; Quasi Aspects of an Irish Poem, performed by Ensemble Modern & Sian Edwards (cond.), David Stromberg (vc), Cantus Kammerorchester & Beroslaw Sipus (cond.), Wireworks Ensemble & René Gulikers (cond.), National Chamber Choir & Celso Antunes (cond.), Constantin Zanidache (va), on: Composers Art Label cal-13021 (CD, 2006).
Cello Concerto; Rhapsodietta Joyceana; Rhapsodic Bowing; Duetti Irlandesi, performed by Martin Johnson (vc), Fergal Caulfield (pf), RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra, Gavin Maloney (cond.), on: RTÉ lyric fm CD 154 (CD, 2017).


^ Hazel Farrell: “Corcoran, Frank”, in: The Encyclopaedia of Music in Ireland, ed. by Harry White & Barra Boydell (Dublin: UCD Press, 2013), p. 243–5.
^ See
^ See
^ See
^ Farrell (2013), p. 244; see Bibliography.
^ Klein (1996), p. 289–292; see Bibliography.


Annette Kreutziger-Herr: “Frank Corcoran”, in: Komponisten der Gegenwart (KdG) (Munich: edition text+kritik, 1992ff.), 5th supplement, July 1994.
Axel Klein: Die Musik Irlands im 20. Jahrhundert (Hildesheim: Georg Olms Verlag, 1996).
John Page: “A Post-War ‘Irish’ Symphony: Frank Corcoran’s Symphony No. 2”, in: Gareth Cox & Axel Klein (eds.): Irish Music in the Twentieth Century (Dublin: Four Courts Press, 2003), p. 134–149.
Hazel Farrell: “Corcoran, Frank”, in: The Encyclopaedia of Music in Ireland, ed. by Harry White & Barra Boydell (Dublin: UCD Press, 2013), p. 243–5.
Benjamin Dwyer: “An Interview with Frank Corcoran”, in: B. Dwyer: Different Voices. Irish Music and Music in Ireland (Hofheim: Wolke Verlag, 2014), p. 94–111.
Hans-Dieter Grünefeld (ed.): Old and New – Sean agus Núa. An Irish Composer Invents Himself. Frank Corcoran. Festschrift at Seventy (Lübeck: the editor, 2015); ISBN 978-3-00-050153-1.




It was thirty years ago, my break-through year. I wrote that opening page for piano solo with bleeding fingers; it had to re-invent rhythm, to fight against 0ur Western tyranny of the period.
I succeeded. Then comes the cello with its own tempo , gestures and persona.
The violin is a different actor again. I had invented – for me – macrocounterpoint, no longer note against note, but layer or musical flow against layer or flow.
( I don´t necessarily ” like” the sound of the classical piano trio, the two strings having to compromise with the tempered tuning of their a powerful piano – only with this hard-won freedom of MY layered approach could I , I felt, accept the sonorities of this deeply compromised mini-orchestra ). Out of the boiling miasma erupted bits of that Brahms theme.
Yet, before it takes over too powerfully, it´s gone again- quasi una visione .
This early work of mine I love for its poised layers and polytemporal richness of sonorities and gestures and lines.

QUASI UNA MISSA , / after ” Balthazar´s Dream ( Berlin 1980 ) and the Bourgs Festival Premier Prix-winning ” Sweeney´s Vision” ( West German Radio commission of 1997 ) ,
was my third electro-acoustic composition ( Commissioned by West German Radio 1999.
It won the 2002 Swedish E.M.S. Prize ) . Like all my ” quasi- ” works of the late nineties and since, it is a composition of this composer who is musically no longer innocent; I know – sadly – too much world-music, too much music of our Western polyphonic tradition.

I wanted to use – for my four movements – ( – but they´re only ” Quasi”

KYRIE, GLORIA – CREDO , SANCTUS, AGNUS DEI ! ) as my building-blocks two thousand years of Irish God-utterances from our Irish island , bits of texts from the Celtic god, Aimhirgi­n, up through Eriugena and Mac Giolla Bri­de and Berkeley to Beckett and Joyce and God-only-knows what else, an Irish stew of Irish theology, a musical archaeology of 2000 yeras of religious tradition.
My ” KYRIE” ( – abbreviated commas, please ! ) is my homage to Palestrina and to our Western chanted counterpoint, as my sacred syllables fugue towards that magical ” Amen!”
St. Patrick beats with bony wrist St. Patrick
´s Bell.
Quasi- GLORIA has the Wake´s Thunder-word and Glendalough bird-song ( – yes, authentic recordings ! Here , fetishism is all ! )
and a total theophantic eruption, Bronze Age Irish horns from the National Museum, halo and awe.

My Quasi- SANCTUS cooks a heady mix of God-statements plus 7th. c. St. Columbanus´s Latin ” Heia! ” – Chorus ,
his monks rowing backwards up the mighty Rhine from Cologne
( / beside whose great Gothic cathedral I mixed my music ) .

Quasi- AGNUS DEI sums up : Irish sorrow, joy, nunc stans, lullaby and dance and Aran Island keening old women , port- a-bheil ,
in short my Irish Circus



I wrote this Musing below all of ten years ago. In Lazio. What did it mean at all ?

Well, I was ten years younger. I had not yet composed the Cello Concerto, the Violin Concerto, Four Orchestral Prayers, Quasi Una Fuga and several other Corcoran works.
Nor had I yet learned serenit’a, calmness, accept it all. Nor written my recent Sc’eal Beag. Nor discovered wild garlic, thyme, basil or origano.
Nor written certain focal Haikus.
Nor even thought of publishing the Festschrift Frank Corcoran ( or indeed its sub-title : “An Irish Composer Invents Himself.” )
Nor presented my Seven Theses On James Joyce And Music in the Dublin James Joyce Centre.

So whose used-up yarn is this spinning ? How is this writing voyeur ? My own e – entrails?
2006 was no bad year.
The voyeur is always in me?
looking–glass declares an interest?
Evening–questions seldom going away, let my fine fingers sing it:
Take Euclidian parallels.
Take: ‘‘Can music ever be completely
Now if your answer is ‘‘Yes’’, why can’t we make a case also for the
occasional, programme–free Musing? This here is one such: perhaps in the
whole flaming firmament, this e–mail might be only the second known case of
an Uncaused Cause (lower case, please).
E–scutter floweth as it will,
meandering magma loitering, causing at least a civilized smile.
It’s not actually enough to fob off Our Great E–typing Author with
‘‘uncaused causation’’ or with
‘‘let–it–flow–if–or–where–it–magmatically will’’
either. Bad enough to be caught anywhere near this theory of
‘‘any possible programme’’ (– eg. Our Muser–Author’s ounds, the scrofulous breakfast, gene
versus Jane versus Holy Joe in early boyhood).

If idle is as idle strives to be, if (as here) it be
meta–musing on and on how to see behind its own very behind, then, there, be the
art of comedy chided.
This e–centred, this I–centred e–thrust, swallowed up in victory, all very
well that ;
– by the way, who’ll fork out the cheque–book when the
celestial nuptials for ‘‘I’’ and for ‘‘Me’’ draw nigh, this very night and all, oh my ‘‘Musing’’, my very sawl?

What be e–writing at all, mused or fused tohuwabohu?
Then suffices no ‘‘It’s only snorting self–expression’’.
As is the humble courtier’s microtonally tuned fart.
And the humbler’s
(eaten well prior) white–beans for lunch after the early morning’s quartering
up at Hangman’s Square, a mere finch in the turnip–pie, causing this (then
this in its turn, then, further causes) uncaused exhuding, this very

I wasn’t it. He there. Master Magma himself, careful, boy.
Not every musing could keep up concealing the awkward given of the
e–mail reflexive, the e–mail at play,
the e–mail confessional, Gödel’s E–mail,
the e–cry or the e–caoine, e–haiku and e–mourn.
They’re on the prowl, our
dear anti – ‘‘Musing’’ police. Have to be. You couldn’t allow total e–licence to the e–plebs.
O Inner circle, sneak closer. Either a ‘‘Musing ’’ amuses or, in its musing, it bemuses. Either it’s an Uncaused Cause (– but ‘‘LOWER CASE, PLEASE’’)
or is eén now causing wryness, a dry throat, reach for red pencil, sure the
man’s mad as a muser?
Exhausted WHO is emailing exhaustive whom the following
text: ‘‘This e–message is in love with itself’’?

What makes our homo e–scribens so different, we left the wall–paintings and
Sumerian crúisgín l´n behind a long time ago?
Out with it, your cheap
attacks on e–courage! Beat intransivity, slash the e–knot of reflexiveness!

Quod scripsi non really scripsi, true or Gödel–true? Could it be that,
e–quill and e–ink put tranquilly aside, we never, never, never love
Who said you can’t be e–mailing ‘‘In Paradisum’’?
Is Paradise my mode of
existence while I mutate into my own e–mail?
All changed, changed utterly, I
now am subsumed in what I have written.
I have become this e–text.
Naw… My actual existence is also virtuality.

What is behind my behind,
then? How’ll I have a look?


Dear Editor,

I used to think it was the Genom Celticum, this continuing inability to tolerate art music in the arts-corner. One tactic is to refer to it as squeaky-gate music.
Music as extended time-art. Time out. Time bent, buckled and trimmed to attack the subcutaneous heart.

I used to see Ó Riada´s (rightly lauded – his problem lay elsewhere…)
bringing ceol traidisiúnta back into the Pale in so conquering a fashion, so confidently,
as the main obstacle to our Irish continued automatic exclusion (Oh yes!)
of our music from the canon of the thinkable arts.

This unability to allow this sound-art to exist, to BE – (even as mere) possibility in my human consciousness- extended , always COMPLEX (but simultaneously SIMPLE) challenge to my ears´ retention: Sounding Form.

You can’t bate Time.

I was very wrong. Take the New Germany, where I work in these difficult vine-yards these long twenty years or more.

Forget Beethoven. Forget Goethe and Schiller. Hamburg´s most popular theatre-piece at the moment,
titled Bite Me, Take Me, Fuck Me, Suck Me, says it better.
The locals cannot imagine music as a (yes, demanding – what´s wrong with courage?) shaping of temporal form that
jogs your ears after the first eight bars have subsided.

Art-music is no longer secure here. The Faith has been lost.
Was it ever really here? My belief – that you must fashion sound-in-time or time-in-et-cetera as a poet, sculptor, dramatist, painter, neon-artist – is now an endangered species of Faith.
We Irish meet us Germans in a curious, innate inability to hang in there after those first seven, glorious,

assymetrical bars of beaten, bashed, sung, stroked, licked or bitten sensuous material.

Readers of JMI, why this alignment of Irish aphasia with teutonic musical dyslexia ?

Frank Corcoran

Published on 1 March 2002

Since 1983 Frank Corcoran has been Professor of Composition and Theory in the Staatliche Hochschule für Musik und Darstellende Kunst, Hamburg. His CDs include Mad Sweeney (BBM 1026) and Symphonies Nos. 2, 3, & 4 (Marco Polo 8.225107).Frank Corcoran is guest composer and artistic director at the Sligo Contemporary Music Festival, full details of which appear on the back cover of The JMI. Since 1983 Frank Corcoran has been professor of composition and theory in the Staatliche Hochschule fur Musik und darstellende Kunst, Hamburg. His CDs include Mad Sweeney (BBM 1026) and Symphonies Nos. 2,3 & 4 (Marco Polo 8.225107)