Frank Corcoran

irish composer

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Haikus in der Kathedrale

Frank Corcoran erhält den Seán Ó Riada Preis 2012

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.

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.
Hans-Dieter Grünefeld



The Snowman
Waterfront Hall

I HEARD the Tipperary-born composer Frank Corcoran say in an interview this week that appreciating classical music didn’t come naturally to Irish people; that maybe some Celtic gene prevented us from ‘getting’ it.
I think I know what he meant;


0:00 Prisma Musik

Thema: Kleine Schule des musikalischen Hörens

Frank Corcoran hört das Cellokonzert von Edward Elgar

“Elgars langsame Passagen zerreißen mich innerlich gerade … Es ist wie das Destillat einer Träne”, gestand Jacqueline du Pré einmal, die vielleicht berühmteste Interpretin dieses Werks. Kurz nach dem Ersten Weltkrieg entstand das Cellokonzert, das man einmal die “Elegie auf eine untergegangene Zivilisation” genannt hat, in der ländlichen Abgeschiedenheit seines Landhauses in Sussex. Das Werk markiert gleichsam den Gegenpol zu “Pomp and Circumstance” in Elgars Schaffen, eine Musik des Abschieds, verhaltener und sparsamer in den Mitteln als alle Orchesterwerke der Vorkriegszeit.

20:00 Nachrichten, Wetter

22:00 Variationen zum Thema
Musikbeispiele zum Themenabend
Edward Elgar:
Konzert für Violoncello und Orchester e-Moll op. 85
Steven Isserlis, Violoncello
Philharmonia Orchestra London
Leitung: Paavo Järvi
Klavierquintett a-Moll op. 84
Pihtipudas Kvintetti

Frank Corcoran:
Martin Johnson, Violoncello
RTE National Symphony Orchestra
Leitung: Gavin Maloney

Frank Corcoran: Rhapsodic Celli for 8 Celli ( N S O I Celli ; Leitung: Gavin Maloney )


(Frank Corcoran’s QUASI UN BASSO for Solo Bass is performed on May 17 2006 in Magyar Radio/Radio Bartók’s Bela

Bartók Centenary Concert in Budapest)

Is cumadóir ceoil mé. I am an Irish composer. The pre-industrial, rural
Ireland of my childhood in the fifties was, in a way, not unlike the small,
agricultural Hungary of Bartók’s youth and maturity.
Dublin and Budapest were, for all their artistic
short-comings, vitally important cultural metropoles.

Small nations both, their surrounding
neighbours often seemed culturally omnivorous, omnipotent posing a real threat
that the identity and self-respect of both little emerging States would be
gobbled up
Bartók ploughed the lonely furrow. Bartók said “NO!” to cultural
tyranny. Bartók took his stance. Moral. Artistic. Not that he wanted to marry
folk- and art-music; you can’t. But as a folk-collector and as a 20th c.
composer, forging and finding his individual composer’s voice, he refused to
let lazy indifference stifle musical diversity or musical courage. Courage –
that’s it. He discovered the unknown, hidden jewels of folk-art. He
composed his own mighty musical structures. Behind both of these, yes, heroic
stances was Bartók’s refusal to give in.

My own little Ireland in my 20th c. has gone an in many ways similar path.
With very mixed results.
My Irish language dies daily a thousand deaths.
Ireland, too, had a Renaissance, an explosion of Irish traditional music which
however by its over-kill and over-exposure in the media is endangered.

As a composer in Ireland, an Irish composer, I had to plough my lonely
In my native Tipperary I had to overcome a mightily hostile
indifference to the oldest layers of Irish singing and instrumental art.
In my own
youthful struggle to compose and construct tonal structures at once private
and public, the enemy number one was Dublin’s post-colonial
dependence on a second-rate, hand-me-down, London-based music-pedagogy.
bits of Bartók were misused in our musical curricula, his work contextlessly, lovelessly paraded without any real understanding of where Bartók was coming from, yet shamelessly paraded as ‘‘our’’ apologia for contemporary music, as ‘‘our’’ bulwark against, say, the horrors of the Second Viennese School. And my little Ireland , politically a ‘‘free ’’Republic, had in its early days of liberation just not succeeded in providing
a climate of musical understanding and respect for musical creativity which would be
necessary to have, in its critical years, an Irish Bartók, Bartók na h –Éireann.

My ‘‘Quasi Un Basso’’ for solo bass is my diptych for, as Bartók uses it, a mighty orchestra in a solo instrument.
(I am thinking of those then so fresh, so shocking Bartók pizz.s from his basses in
the orchestral works like his ‘‘Divertimento’’ for String Orchestra, the
extraordinary long legato lines near the end of the ‘‘Music For String Orchestra, Percussion and Celesta’’ or the daring and brilliance of his orchestral imagination.)
Mine are two fragmented pictures from my vanished Ireland.

Art-music today faces the most viciously anti-art global market known to
man. We have no place where wares are bartered. But YOU CANNOT BARTER BARTÓK!
– Nor indeed any music of lasting value.
It is questionable whether the folk-musics of either Hungary or Ireland will survive the market’s kiss of
death. It is doubly questionable whether Hungarian and Irish composers will
survive our global village which today is swollen with the greatest ocean of
sonic rubbish known to man.
Have we composers a place to be heard?
Where’s the silence?
From which music is born and heard?


Music is largely metaphor.

My music is a metaphor for what ?

I take my newest CHOIR FOR MY FUNERAL . Of course a great title. Ignore for a moment it and its text ( “Requiem aeternam dona ei , Domine . Amen ” ) and its dative singular and its echo of so much choral music of the past…

Hear it maybe like this : it begins ; it ascends; descent and dies.

Music is a metaphor . Sung music, the human breath, phrases and lines and harmonies and their rhythms. Sure, it also maps expressive states or jumps or emotional black-and-white or the divine spark or whatnot.
What about my new String Quartet ( for 2019 ) ? Or my Clarinet Quintet ( ditto ) ?
Blown and bowed.

Hmmm. Explore all this further. First get some sleep before those rosy fingers


RHAPSODIC CELLI – The Music Of Frank Corcoran

RTE Lyric fm

Martin Johnson, Cello – RTE National Symphony Orchestra , Gavin Maloney, conductor.

1-4. Cello Concerto 32.21

5. Rhapsodietta Joyceana 3.31

6. Rhapsodic Bowing for 8 Celli 8.42

7-15. Duetti Irlandesi for Cello and Piano 23.43


—–Original Message—–
From: Ufficio Promozione To: Fbcorcoran
Sent: Tue, Jul 10, 2018 10:33 am
Subject: Concerto di Dublino rassegna stampa

Buongiorno Maestro Corcoran,
ecco alcuni link della rassegna stampa del Concerto di Dublino:

Al Teatro Mancinelli va in scena “Il concerto di Dublino” col maestro Frank Corcoran

Al teatro Mancinelli di Orvieto le note della musica classica irlandese e italiana

Un altro articolo lo trova in allegato.



I was born on Main Street, Borrisokane . 1954 our family moved out to Killavalla House.

Estate: Stoney (Co Tipperary) Killavalla House, Borrisokane . I see it in my mind’s eye and WEEP NOW ! !

Thomas Stoney from Yorkshire came to Ireland in the late 17th century and settled in county Tipperary. In 1745, his eldest son, George of Greyfort and Portland, married Eliza, daughter of Captain James Johnston of Ballynockane and sister of Captain Robert Johnston of Emell Castle. They had five sons, Andrew died without male heirs, Thomas of Arran Hill and Emell Castle, James J. of Oakley Park, Bigoe A. of Killavalla and George who had no children. The second son, Thomas Stoney and his wife Ruth Falkiner of Mount Falcon, had eight sons including George of Kyle Park, Richard of Portland and James Johnstone of Emell Castle.
In the mid 19th century most of the Stoney lands were in the barony of Lower Ormond, parishes of Borrisokane, Lorrha, Modreeny, Nenagh and Uskane. In the 1870s Johnston Stoney of Emill Castle owned 473 acres in King’s County (Offaly) and 104 acres in county Tipperary.
Other members of the Stoney family namely Sadlier Stoney of Ballycapple, Cloghjordan, owned 953 acres, Thomas Stoney of Kyle Park owned 1,029 acres, Thomas B. Stoney of Portland Park owned 2,778 acres and Thomas G. Stoney of Kingstown owned 221 acres, all in county Tipperary.
Members of this family were prominent in the scientific, engineering and academic fields in nineteenth century Ireland.

House Name / Description Townland Civil Parish PLU DED Barony County Map Ref image Killavalla (H4445)
Lewis records Killavalla as the seat of R. Johnston Stoney.

The Ordnance Survey Name Books refer to the house in this townland as “Honeywood House, the residence of Robert Johnstone Stoney, very commodious with convenient offices attached”. Stoney’s representatives held the property valued at £16+ from the representatives of Stephen Egan at the time of Griffith’s Valuation.
It later became the seat of the Saunders family.
This house no longer exists.
Killavalla Borrisokane Borrisokane Lower Ormond Tipperary


3. Dezember
Nachtrag zu Woche 48
Prisma Musik
Thema: Kleine Schule des musikalischen Hörens: Frank Corcoran hört das Streichquintett C-Dur von Franz Schubert
Das Werk gehört zu seinen letzten und gilt Kennern als Gipfel dessen, was in dieser Kunst überhaupt möglich ist. Generationen haben sich den Kopf darüber zerbrochen, wie Schubert zum Beispiel die magische Stimmung des Adagio-Satzes erzeugt hat.
Der irische Komponist Frank Corcoran versucht in der Kleinen Schule des musikalischen Hörens den Geheimnissen dieser Musik auf die Spur zu kommen, die einem unbegreiflichen Schaffensrausch auf dem Kranken- und schließlich Sterbebett entsprang.

Danach Frank Corcorans 4. Sinfonie aus dem Jahre 1996
( National Symphony Orchestra of Ireland, Cond, Colman Pearce )