Frank Corcoran

irish composer

5.2.2001 IRISH TIMES ( DOUGLAS SEALY) REVIEW N.S.O. , Cond. Richard Pittman

3 PIECES FOR ORCHESTRA ( 1975 ) Frank Corcoran
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4. SYMPHONY Witold Lutoslawski

3. SYMPHONY Frank Corcoran

In the first of six concerts focussing on classics of 20th. c. music – the Horizon series – Frank Corcoran chose as the centre piece a work of “a giant figure ” on his creative horizon, Witold Lutoslawski.

Listening to the works by the two composers in the N C H on Tuesday, it was clear that they shared a language, even if the did not speak the same dialect. Lutoslawski preserves the strongest links with the culture of the past.
Corcoran has shed , not without violence , a load of such trappings. His “THREE PIECES” , subtitled ” Pictures From MY Exhibition”, gloried in the freedom that belongs to tge youthful spirit. Sent up like a kite, the music was at the mercy of the winds which snapped at the vanes and whistled stridently through them; but the cord held, thanks in no small measure to Richard Pittman’s resourceful control and the wholehearted response of the N.S.O.

Lutoslawski’s FOURTH SYMPHONY, written in 1992, has not taken long to become a “classic”. Certainly it has a nobility and breadth that can accomodate extremes – the garish and the sombre, the pithy and the rhetorical without discomfort; and it abounds in contrasting layers of sound and movement ….

Frank Corcoran’s THIRD SYMPHONY , only two years younger than Lutoslawski’s Fourth, uses similar techniques , but in a more compressed form. The flavour of iconoclasm, so evident in the ThHREE PIECES . lingers but only adds a touch of acerbity to the large-scale drama of the whole.
Richard Pittman and the N.S.O. made it triumphantly expressive.

Posted under: Humble Hamburg Musings

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