Frank Corcoran

irish composer


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


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


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.


Posted under: Humble Hamburg Musings

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