Frank Corcoran

irish composer

VARIATIONS ON MYSELF

Frank Corcoran

Why the title of this one-movement work for 5 wind and 5 strings ? Who is ” myself” ? And how ” variations” ? Because of my building-blocks. I got these 6 tones
out of which everything, but everything, is built – out of the 6 note -names contained in my own name.

So watch this : ” Francis Corcoran” offered me the little

tone-row: F R Cis ( which is German for ” C Sharp” ) Es ( ditto for “E Flat ” ) C and A . These ( and, of course, their serial operations – you can HEAR them with the thinking ear ) are the building-blocks of the work .
My Tipperary Six Tone Theory, variations on my own name. Musical variations of melody and harmony and rhythm and colour.
Of course this kind of thing has a long and distinguished history in Western art-music- Bach was fascinated by his own 4 tones ” B A C H” and Schumann tried his hand at ” Es C H ” ; Shostakovich wasn´t above popping his musical motive into certain scores ; you even had Italian Renaissance polyphonic masters composing for their Ferrara supper with the notes they got out of the name ” HERCULES DUX FERRARIAE” and so on.
However I decided to base my entire work on my very own theme.

Yes. You could say it´s six note music.

Often the overlapping lines played by the five wood-winds have their floating, dreamy quality (- each instrument often has its own independent tempo ) whereas the five strings play metrically measured music which acts like a grid.

I am not above making a nod to a certain Bayreuth composer whose “Tristan” music is celebrated in this year of 2013.
This kind of musical allusion , often parody, is also well-known in our Western tradition.

There is in my tone-picture a central climax of great tension . Then comes my ” Endmusik” where , over low string chords, the horn, then the bassoon, clarinet, oboe and finally flute in its highest register bow out.

So do I. Music is metaphor. My music is both my child and a metaphor of myself – Wind-music and string-music.

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