Frank Corcoran

irish composer

TAKE TONY MACMAHON , BOX PLAYER

His beautiful, bony fingers articulate, his four plus four bars make eight Irish traditional bars. The drone bass – or its cleverly placed absence , these build the heard form for Tony Macmahon’s  right-hand pleading , his hymning, high linear gasps and plaintive, plain( Co. Clare )  chanting , the old Irish harpers’ pre-Schubertian airs, monumental architectural a la A A B B , a strong ascent, trembling trellis-work above, their lovely descent. Frank Corcoran’s Second Law Of Slow Airs’ Thermodynamics.

For years I – as an Irish composer –  I’ve heard breathlessly  Tony’s melodic tracery; – all its delicate, ornamented phrasing. Or take his humility ,  a few buttons to sing the  bass line .  Rock-like.Rock-

Tony MacMahon’s  “Sean O Duibhir An Ghleanna” is a masterpiece of Naive Art – its native singing , his box wind-music  from my  beaten race. I myself have tried to approach its symmetry.  Many times.

Track Four then , ” The Wounded Hussar ” , is something quite other – minor becomes  major . Tony MacMahon’s Picardy Third wings . Bony work great !

THIS TRAMONTANA WOULD SKIN A CAT IN THE SUN

 

The Dutch Radio Concertzender broadcasts  Frank Corcoran’s new  CELLO

CONCERTO  (  RTE Lyric recording of  March 13  Dublin  National Symphony

Orchestra  /  Kenneth Montgomery / Martin Johnston , Soloist  )  on:

Sunday April 19 2015  between 17.00  and  18.00  .

APRIL APRIL COMES BEFORE MY 71. ST.

So what will it bring , this new Pratoleva year ?

Schott will publish my choral EIGHT HAIKUS which won the 2013 International Forum For Choral Music  Premier Prix.

Other choral works will sound, the human breath.

( But of course the human body and breath is also fully there in a Corcoran orchestral or chamber work, strain , aim, polish, energy, shaped musical strength aching to be born, sound as thought and conceived and incarnate. )

Festschrift Frank Corcoran will appear.

ANOTHER LAZIO YEAR HAS COME AROUND AGAIN

Another year near hill-top Celleno and clear April sunny skies. The nights are cold still. New energy stirring.

I finished the six Irish Duets for Cello and Piano, short settings of some of the loveliest  Irish Slow Airs “ar an sean n’os ”  known to me  :  Im Aonar Seal, Na Conneries, Sean O Duibhir An Ghleanna, A Mhairin De Barra, A Una Bhain  1.  and  2. These six are among the finest we have; in each  great expressive power is unleashed in  fine architectural trellis-work. Four lines in each , A B B A  , beautifully balanced. The perfection of a Schubert Lied. Voila !

These settings are neither neo-romantic nor kitsch nor minimalistic nor neo-Bart’ok but rather vintage Corcoran. Each captures the significant motif of the “amhran” in question . The piano is a wash of orchestral colour, of course . The cello surges. I keep the wildness, ornamentation;  melodic ” multa in parvis”. Not a note too much. Not a sigh, an ascent – descent, an apoggiatura without high voltage.

END OF MARCH THE SUN TILTS INFINITESIMALLY

Nearly five months up here. Now I fly . South. Kindly German Wings. Over those waiting Alps.   ( – kindly ?  )

Good CELLO CONCERTO Premiere with the Irish N S O / Kenneth Macmillan, and my giant soloist , Martin Johnston. Mighty. 13.3.2015.

Good   QUASI UNA STORIA  Premiere  in NYC with the North South Consonance String Orchestra , great Max Lifchitz. He also mighty.  15.2.2015.

Unleashed then rightly  , my new  six Cello – Piano Duets .  –   Short miracles.  Refined miniature Irish Slow Airs  – ” ar an sean-nos ”  –  each an explosive miracle. Never Kitsch, never  neo- Romantic, never-never minimal  or  – istic, never neo- Bartok.  Yes, beautiful Corcoran

ALSO POSITIVE REVIEW ON: www.goldenplec.com

Period-performance concerns, from orchestral layout to lightness of vibrato and transparency of textures, are ones that Kenneth Montgomery also brings to his concerts with the orchestra. Last Friday he conjured up otherworldly magic and mystery in Mendelssohn’s Midsummer Night’s Dream Overture and buoyant energy and outdoor freshness in Beethoven’s Pastoral Symphony. It would be hard to imagine a greater orchestral Operation Transformation than the one Montgomery effected in these two works. More, please.

In between, the orchestra’s principal cellist, Martin Johnson, gave the first performance of Frank Corcoran’s Cello Concerto. Corcoran long ago established a reputation as being something of a wild man, musically speaking, among Irish composers. Rawness and roughness are his stock in trade. He prefers the jagged, the shrill, the disruptive to the smooth, the sweet or the calming.

His note about the new concerto refers to the idea of the solo instrument singing in all registers. On a first hearing it sounds as if his concern to allow the cello breathing space has created something of a Jekyll and Hyde effect, with the orchestral ranting standing distinctly apart from the cello’s often more plaintive cries.

mdervan@irishtimes.com

NOW NEW MARCH IS TURNING

March 13 2015

Premiered in Dublin  .  National Symphony Orchestra  / Kenneth Macmillan . Soloist :  Martin Johnson.

 

See on www.cmc.ie  :

 

Martin Johnson , Fergal Caulfield on  Frank Corcoran’s new CELLO CONCERTO.

Frank Corcoran on  his new CELLO CONCERTO.

Hear More On ” Sound Cloud ” .

MY TALE OF THREE MUSICAL CITIES

1.  West Berlin 1981.

After my  Berliner Kuenstler Programm 1980  (  “Symphonies Of Symphonies Of Wind ”  =  my  first symphony  )  ; the  Symphony Nr. 2 ,  ( I counterpoint :   ” SOLI ” and ” TUTTI ” ) ,  I became a guest professor at the  Hochschule der Musik where , a few very short years earlier  Boris Blacher had taught me :  a sense of musical  responsibility ; beware all new-born music Fascists;  for Gawd’s sake keep a door open  for:

form in music , hearable shape  .

 

2. Stuttgart  1982  : Oh Hoelderlin ! Sweet airs and wines above that boiling  Kesseltal ”  !  Beware the post-war terror and infallible ” we only, ahem, know  – contemporary composition, choirs and tin.-whistles  and quintets and bagpipes, it all !”

 

3. Hamburg 1983 till  quasi yesterday. Coming from the South, I had just  tripped across the Hamburg  Musikhochschule’s  main portal ( No. There was no one to greet me , to welcome me, I felt instantly  a  local-Hamburg  tollabawns’  ignorance of any saving grace known to Western man . They had justly perfected what ?  The snarl. The rictus. Clear your  Hanseatic Liberal Throat indeed ….  )  . Here was musicality , creativity, plasticity, humanity, normality….   not understood. I gasped. I reeled. I screeched : ” This can not be true ! ”

 

TO  BE  CONTINUED