Frank Corcoran

irish composer

Home » Articles posted by Frank Corcoran (Page 141)

For this Holy Solstice , December 21 2006


Yes, rape. Not of the sacred deposit ” in full and perfect integrity” , but how mangily poor and how linguistically appalling to my little Christmas ears in Saint Finian´s were his vowels and town-lands: Moyvore was foreign, Ballinacargy a laugh; I cringed at Clonmellon, Mount Nugent, Beaupark, Oristown, monstrous Ratoath, Kilcloon; I could just about hear the native echoes in ” Moynalty”.
On 27 June 1816 our Bishop Cantwell, deep, roundy, was appointed dean with an annual salary of 121 pounds, Propanda Fide not being asleep. Our tenant-farmer´s son had written: ” The sum of one thousand a year, which you specify, instead of exaggerating, underrates the amount available for these sacred uses.” For little me the Priests´Library shone gold vermilion in that afternoon sun.
It is just meat to offer a medium rare lamb for all the sheep of Taghmon. It is a collar of gold over the necks of those engaged in the mummery of superstition, whose generosity was established by a free parochial house, a fat cow or a 10 pound note at Christmas. Influenced by a mysterious torpor, many have not found Ballinacargy a laugh. Several gentlemen were on their legs together. ( Music and dancing were also available at an extra charge )
Even if , as an expectant postulant, it is my present fancy transsexual, I had travelled by boat down the Royal Canal from far-flung Castletown Kilpatrick to measled Athboy , how might his relatio for Rome have looked after my back-bone was broken , that first Christmas dinner? Mother was to live only for eighteen months in Madras, okay. The stately cypress of the Tropics waves above where she sleeps, her long last sleep, okay. How would I provide for the instruction of the female youth of the town and vicinity?
I intended to send an explanation to His Holiness from Ratoath, it being the sacred privilege of all sons to have recourse to the father of the faithful , okay. Yes, I did accept benefits from those crafty and cunning Ministers, okay.( Do not blush to whisper in the ears of certain credulous people that they have a well disposed and favourable attitude. No inverted commas. No upper case. ) I was denounced through all the moods and tenses of Billingsgate, so I was.
Time was elapsing and it was prejudicial to me, as long as my limbs could sustain me in Kilcullen or Navan, having as my object the amelioration of the social condition of a people like the Irish. ( It is the Maynooth education that is working all this evil. The priests there are very violent. )
At the hustings, Sir Richard Levinge, Urquhart and Mostyn lounged ; I was not yet well enough acqainted with the malignity of my enemies to attach the slightest credit or importance to statements emanating from such a source.” Lambaste him ” ; I had not heard a single serious charge of violence or imprudence aimed at my sacred character. As to Mullingar: I much feared, religion had not much benefited from their example there; it required no very great stretch of the lamb´s intelligence , no astute notions of a sheep´s propriety to know that the rostrum was not the place most suited. At St. Finian´s, where I snatched a hasty meat-dinner, a number who were present expressed great indignation at the proceedings of my conference along the following lines: why were the country butchers reduced to such misery as to be obliged to flee from the land of their lambs, with which their dearest associations are entwined ? The gangrene had eaten into all classes of society, and all classes , therefore, must contribute to the cure, or it could not be affected. Their conduct nothing but a well established plea of insanity could explain. Many, very many, I was still confident,had been forced to join the movement through intimidation of every species, worldly and spiritual.
He, the bishop , I mean, ( it was either him or me ) then wrote in September 1865 to Propaganda from Calais seeking faculties to say mass. I was fair game, I´m afraid. This boy attained the age of fifteen years, that period of pauper existence which the law pronounces to be manhood, that at which it declares education shall cease, and idleness and increase of diet make up for any lack of knowledge. He denounced, of course he would, a house of ill repute on the canal banks in Mullingar ( the result was that mine was burned down a few nights later by some midnight incendiary, who had profited by the mild and Christian instruction of his pastor. )
I was charged with outraging common decency, by going with strumpets into groves and forts. My health was better than in Rome ; however, during the week of the last Bellewstown Races, our worthy neighbour of Sheephouse volunteered in the most handsome manner, to supply , gratuitously, from his quarry, all the cut-stone for the front of my sacred edifice in Mount Bolus.
Or take Oristown. Bish Cantwell´s good self , possessing the confidence of Rome, would be enabled not only to save but, healing past dissensions, he would restore it to an influence and character that heretofore had rendered the Irish church the terror of the enemies of our holy faith. I suggested – too late , as it then transpired – that he travel to Naples and Gaeta to visit the Pope and Fransoni.
“I did all in my power to damage him and his two classes of supporters” was his later chilling report on me to Propaganda. The greater good determined that he should not stay silent about my unsuitability for episcopal office, in those days of unparalleled suffering an appointment which would be hailed as present blessing. He rammed the point further home: ” He ( he meant little me ) declared he ( again ditto ) would not refuse absolution to a priest who took office in the Queen´s Colleges “.
Even after this rescript, I felt the proquinquity of a lamb to its slab. He, Cant Well Enough, again wrote to Propaganda in my case: ” His sad calamity has been publicly notorious : he not only cut his own throat to an extent that rendered recovery for some days hopeless, but even endeavoured to kill his sister…. ” The blood welled . Roundy well, Bishop Cant , again: ” I would look on his episcopal appointment as a national calamity.”
How terrible are the dangers augmented by the folly or treachery of some of our Brethren. Rarely well done is the Christmas lamb. The Pope telling Prince Doria, an emissary for Lord Shrewsbury, that he knew of the true circumstances from a letter posted out of Ballinacargy one wet and dismal night that December, I quote from memory: “We hope Dr. Cant will not go to London. His meddling will be most mischevious, as such men are more to be dreaded in Ireland in a religious point of view than the openly avowed hostility of the worst Tory Government”.
If the pitch cap fit , let this Christmas lamb wear. My bishop´s comments on all of this were sarcastic and well over the top o´the hill : ” Were Luther on earth he would be a suitable climax to the disgusting young of Ballinacargy, young spawn of that Metropolis who in the numerous institutions and professions laugh at religion and trample on morality . I shall forward to Rome a true report of this deep laid and unchristian plot! I trust it will decide His Holiness and the Propaganda on affixing their strong and solemn condemnation on a project which if brought into operation would soon extinguish the Gospel light in this country!”
My mother slept her long , last sleep not in Moyvore but in Madras; she was in no way convinced : ” Lord, emancipate the rising generation from the thraldom of Priestly domination, then ! My son ! My lamb´s collar spiked against the prowl of Roman wolves!” But Bish Cant´s reply was characteristic:
” How she has been bamboozled to make such a testamentary disposition of her son is astonishing! It unfortunately shows the sad power that some of their reverences possess over even respectable females, and how they turn and twist them to their own selfish views. Here we have a lady bequeathing every particle of her beloved son whom she possessed to a class of men that never existed. Nor, from the well known certainty there is of some of the cloth feathering their nest to their heart´s content, is there the remote possibility of having such a son in esse!”
Ballinabrackey and Tubber, once desert Dysart, nobbered Nobber and Dromconrath and safe Slane and monstrous Ratoath. How are ye ? Where are ye? Can´t leave ye well enough alone this Holy Solstice?


“Avoid the left side of God, whatever you do! Avoid Her Divine left flank, haunch, shoulder, carabhat.” Youthful he was too serious, fading fast in the dark, milky evening, the ocean-spume forced up Skellig´s West Face which was acting as a kind of gigantic, basalt sea-flute.He was me, I realized, way too serious, grown old as a youth, his not yet bearded face unreal in a black-purple Atlantic evening .
My ( i.e. his ) last words ” Whatever you say, don´t say it! ” were lost in the upward roar of ocean-wind, a great swell slapping a hundred lowing seal-mammies below on their ( – certainly for Milton ) awful calving rocks .
I loved every child´s Christmas, the dark morning not really cold, our black puddings special, our Child born to die in my place ; or was it the other way round, His puddings a-steaming ?
John Milton and our Parish Priest were as one, at least on this: that He´d left Heav´n´s high Councel-Table to be dished up in humble North Tipperary, unwrapped and freezing in our parish-crib, not far from our lambing sheep. No choice, certainly. He´d be for the knife.
“Ar dheis Dé” was deep in all families, and not just at our Feast of That Light Unsufferable; my little mind knew one of our crowd had minced his own mother up a decade before.
Christ! To give up sitting in the midst of Trinal Timelessness and to choose our darksome, clay House, our sheds, out-houses, hen-coop, corrugated-iron roofs with the cold draught that killed my first dog, Daisy or was it Keeper?
Later, holy beardlessness and youth – if not sense -were on my side, pondering: ” At Her right side may rest rightly be”, as Aunt Brigid´s soul crawled up our cleaned – out chimney like seaweedy Skellig air. Later again I´d compose my nine-fold harmony, a full consort for the weltring waves, yes, fair Jewesses to young me.
Later still, I panicked: what if it was me ? – knife-to-the-beard, young stubble, WHOSE black puddings for our Xmas ? I do wish for, I yearn for bliss, full and perfect. I want a not-too-little steam-roller which rolls in a courtly stable for our spangled host, a slight rise in pocket-money for a bright new year, the Sun in bed with Mrs. Milton.
So let´s suppose Nature – in awe of my redemptive theology – did pollute with sinfull blame Skellig West Face halcyons or its December turtle-winged harbingers? Are you serious ? While they their oozy channel keep ? While yet our Christmas Childe plus all we wish to be ” at Her right side” ? to be ” Ar dheis Dé ” ?
Sharp the childish Christmas knife. Sharp as a disappointment in the toy steam-roller department, sharp the pointing a finger at Skellig to face the scaly Horrour of just who exactly´s swindging, foulded tail? So it must have been as Childe Christmas´s well-ballanc´t world on hinges hung that I swung, flung childish Christmas dung, done our long-planned Tipperary silver chime. Young, serious MÉ, my very MICH remained beardless in my wintry panic before the sonorous, hardly concealed threat of: ” their oozy channel keep”. Meaning just what?
What might the Angelike symphony ( see double bass honks, very well I have meant them, starting equally well-meant Second Symphony ) have sounded up on the wintry West Face, through our children´s awe-filled Atlantic flute-spume ? Tender December infant, I couldn´t fathom : ” Ar dheis Dé go raibh a h-anam! ” Or is it: “May she sidle up to the right side of God´s Carabhat” ?
I was that young musicianer in that December darksome Mortal Clay House. I asked, WHOSE” flocking shades pale / Troop to th ínfernall jail.” Beardless, the young will always cower. Who´d misplaced our newly clean swadling bands anyhow – was it to controul the damned crew? Where were you, wanton Mrs. Milton ? In which SUN´s bed sported you , far from our Northern Europe yule-tide ? far from the dredded Infants hand, you, too, a yellow-skirted Fay, eh?
Yes, Time is, I cowtowed to our Skellig Song which is a-playing on every basalt sea-flute. There Time equals squared, moist M.C. out on the wet West Face. He “our deadly forfeit released”, eh? Was it, then, He who redeemed, repaired my broken toy steam-roller that Xmas with His hallow´d fire, eh? A spangled present to the Infant God and His Feary Father, eh ? Baroque begobs and Crystall sphears and black pudding special, eh , He was to die in my place, was that Their plan, eh ? Was it that which all our silly thoughts so busie kept, so near and so far on that Nativity Morning of old, eh, we sons of A Tipperary Nollaig morning ? Was it our Skellig´s wakefull , watery trump of doom that thundered through deep Kerry sea-depths with a horrid clang ? Such a Song of terror for a still beardless, Heav´n-born-childe?



Soft you, before I take on ” Let me “. Consider weakish ” Definitely” and, after I´ve lambasted that, sherry-swinish ” Nest Myself”, all of this on this our
post-Samhan ” Ogni Santi” / ” Aller Seelen” ( – poor Schubert´s teeth ! ) thermometric fall .
Next in line to be criticized ” All over the world !” as creeping arrogance, a time-server for word-pigs! Her “glob” = his ” blogadr” = ” their wished for “playbar “. So whisper it wistfully, cautiously: ” pressword = wordpress/swordpressworryswishI´dódonítfirstan´foremosht/ ”
( In principle, was not our pressing out Dat But Only Just Dat Just Word long foreconceived, in fact some aeons earlier ? )
Press down. Shut up. Shut. Nest down. Mrs. Blogs, born in this Night of The SHE, she is helpless, so shes nesting on Culann´s Dawg, Cú. Down, hound, dawn fawning!
On one such “sacred”, ” livid” ( Luther ) October 31st evening, I happened to wrench the fifth rib while slipping across my own SHE Divide, up interviewing Mother on Skellig´s West Face. I´d faced wet-to-the-skin Blogadr.s, all, and I mean all, of her wet E-Mails; Luther – long before- had been pressing out The World At Stool, anti-Jewish pighound, we are more on the alert today. Marvel, though, at what he did expel: ” B.Lo.Go´dr. Sw´nish // “, the professorial theologians´ Thuringian privie practically blown apart by this lovely part-song for shitters.
Allow for ” SHE”, for our Celtic Fun On The Time-Line. October was doubtlessly grand, now the Sí were shovelling up her soil. I slipped over her own grey-hound. I had to sneak by, smacked by Samhan saints, by SHEs and by poor Schubert´s teeth, nesting with Mother´s hush-puppy hounds under a purgatorial Skellig Mór down-pour where no playbar ever did split Luther´s ” sacred” from “livid”.
I come to Martin´s beblogadred statement. I am referring, of course, to his Wartburg Question: ” Suppose I HAD rescued her out of her own vomit?” Watch that reformed barplay, his typical Augustinian pressing on HER words, her” HAD” and her “OF” .
My Diet of Worms beloved, sitting Musicus Luther how did strain, pressed he (still at you-know-where , ja ? ), propagated he, a case sensitive type, still a-sitting, he entered his post, evacuating Immortal Stool-Words:
” Let SHE out, gentle swine ! Press my Marty ICH certainly out of all great art ! Sitting rather than in good standing ( in this my private privie) , I Martin, Musicus, Marty cut ICH out of every thaumatological letting -go, verily out of Gad´s every Thuringian Word-server, each of His word-processors and, well, Son-pressers “.
Plop. Pull handle.Our theologian sedens now stroked his wordpress; the playbars coupled. ” You Lady Blog , me Blogadr. We nest ourselves on world-, time- and self-servers?”
This was ” aller Seelen”, a wet night, our ” ogni santi” on projected Irish Samhan Sí -sod and Skellig West Face ( closed to tourists, there´s sheets of foam a mile high in winter ), these were a myriad open faders, cross-overs, media-connectors. Press harder, young Sí-devils ! Strain, ye SHE-men! Grace ignoreth consequence ! Samhains prime time! Muscular ecstasy now´! Or never again for an artist a true-blue option! Wider! Open! She comes!” Schubert´s teeth ( fixed media work ), Mother´s wet hound-puppies on Skellig, drowning SHE´s ” glob” and Our Reformer´s ” blogadr ” pushed Herr Doktor Martin Luthers playbar down, aiming´for all Servants of the Strained Word.
´Tis easy speaking it : ” Suppose I had NOT rescued her out of her vomit?” Martin´s Satan snarl : ” She was all slopped out on the bed. death by drowning if you hadn´t. Certain.” Then the Tempter struck: ” What about her delayed death at sea? ” Our Reforming Sitter: ” Ancient Tempter! ” Lucifer was blazing back: ” Would have inhaled her own supper.” Dr. Marty Theologus: ” Haste to the wedding, guilt I Thee bring? ” His Mischievous Evil: ” Let the pitch-cap fit!” Our theological shitter:” Release my pressbar! ” Old Satan, his feary Father: “You did want to nest!” Luther´s Old High German Wartburg expletive was ” Blogadr! ”
After this Thuringian curse, all world-servers went silent. I´d said goodby to Mother on wet Skellig´s Wet Hell, goodbye to her wet hush-hounds and to Schubert´s syphilitic teeth, to wet Glob and drowned Blog and rescuing her out of her own vomit aeons earlier . Soft this wettish Sí Morning. Who ELSE is listening up on that West Face to my soft tale about how SHE is not necessarily of the Samhan Sí ; that we´re all flowing down the same river, down to Samhan City,


13. January 2007 Frank Corcoran´s commissioned two-hour
“Höranalyse” of Schubert´s Great C-Major Symphony broadcast by N.D.R. for the first time.


In einer eMail vom 02.11.2006 11:14:09 Westeuropãische Normalzeit schreibt FBCorcoran:

We jerky little kids swung our then little limbs over that then little style ( – Donnelly´s sawn-off instrument had successfully shot my priestly vocation to tatters. ), that escape-path from our ´Aras Mór leading to a hole-in-the-wall, our walk or you push de flat bipeds toward angelic Sister Augustine and walk tall Sister Senan and their mountainy Hidden Object of Tabernacular Adoratio, wasn´t it Big Mister ´Eamonn Mór Dé .

I am past ” forgiving ” ? – No, dope, my PIANO TRIO of your 1977 was our Cúchullanistik. No, years later I did have to FEEL that ASSYMETRIC grey – plus – Brahms piano-interior .Yes, forgive Hugh Donnelly´s shotgun´s sawn-off sound ? Yes, forgive my tattered vocation? Forgive also, up at our styles, a child´s thrust towards fulfilling the hero´s crazy project? Forgive the Tabernacle and all who can´t forgive themselves? We were jerky, all so little, help us in out of the forlorn cold . It was dire. Not a piano-trio as yet in my childish imagination, it was the sound of sawn-off thunder. How could they let us loose beyond the limits of the style in the wall ? I know my little limbs were blue with cold, how about yours in cold Áras Mór ? Smell the explosion , hark to our thousand awakened rooks yelling blue murder under a leaden night-sky ; I was no match for the Cúchullans above at the square where never a drop of Vesevo White soccoured our parents ; no glass and a half ´d stop blue child-abuse, though Áras Mór featured lead-pipes and lead roof-lining, had included once Thomas Mann´s red wines ( after all, his own Lübecker Rotspon evening-glass did look the other way as his childer turned all blue ).

I hardly knew my young body´s lower half in our ´Aras Mór cold mansion of a Saturday Night Is Bath-Night. Nor did ever actually see the white wine” Vesevo”, our Celto-Hanseatic snobs´ ” Sannio Falanghina” . Nor could my Setanta´s hurley-stick ever hope to open a Thomas Mann bottle of ” Vin Pays d´Oc” ( – apparently it used to arrive as his own red ” Rotspon von Lübeck” , imagine! ) . But could I shriek for us five children at the style, for our rooks and our parents´ ” Heal Yerselves, Mites, Ye´ll Have To ” throughout that long October forbidden night of the shotgun? Could I?

Ask not now from which Lübeck wine-cask Immanuel Kant smelled our twisted wood . Even I still smell my very own private child-abuse, our milking, his honey. Indeed, his milking of my honey. Not a bottle of Tipperary Red Rotsporn was found aboard the rubber raft for the five orphans. Sing, Thomas Mann´s desolate, blue-white children, my old favourite, how well we know that Lied “HOW SWEETLY WE SHIVER NOW” . What bliss at whose cool pianoforte for blue-cold little, precious witnesses ? Want little, waste little. Whinge little, for ye shall not be heard.


In einer eMail vom 15.10.2006 12:22:37 Westeuropãische Normalzeit schreibt FBCorcoran:

Now I’ll paste in mother, she’ll be next to her Casey sisters and cousins, her school-class photo about level, as in life, with our Dad’s caubeen in his very own photo.

Who is looking at who is what these two images (bundled phota are best) are asking me down from this Wailing Wall; in which time are these imputed glances ‘‘taking place’’, is what I should be exploring in my hunkered position.

To live your life is not as easy as to be plastering the builders’ wet-room, gleam, angle, shadows or light, its line and circle, de- and in- and excisions.

I’ll be taking next the ontology of the musical work, take Lutoslawski’s Livres Pour Orchestre of 1968, premiered in Hamburg, was it? No, Hagen; wrong, Warszawa. Wrong again. I veer away from the slippery slope ( – this wet-room is quite new) of the Polish composer’s question for whom his Chapters and his still wonderfully fresh, still very tricky, polyvalent Interludes will sound now as they swirl around the few corners the builders did leave me? Who owns? Neither hath Casey ear heard, nor Corcoran eye seen what this grand orchestral wash announces: – yes, it is sweet and it is proper to construct my wet wash-room, to work in Horace’s brass, no surrender, non serviam, no sir, it wasn’t me, sir, ask Lizz Casey, sir, bold as brass, sir . (How they cower in their lowly school snap-shot). Yes, erect wet washroom, yes, write Lutoslawski’s Sound-Pages, yes, sounding brass a sonorous Book of Life. Whose, Horace? Ah, Horatius, ’tis countless, unsung lives of Irish slaves, their being temporal, their time silent, still, unsung.

We know not the wet-rooms of our future. The past is mine, sayeth Horace. Build ye, bold as brass. Wipe down the streaming walls of orchestral wash, Lutoslawski’s great monument. Wrap sound in little Interludes between his mighty Chapters, short, tiny verses for clarinets and vibraphone and low harp-patter, piano-dabs before the big stuff gets sounding. In that photograph the air is dead, no sound. So how? Yet, the Horatian thrust to build a monument, try any class of a gazebo, even a metaphor, a wet-room extended, Mr. L’s final orchestral Chapter wrapping up all minor wind- or string-glissandi-arguments, it seems basically normal in our species, keep cool, poet, a basically decent and reasoned thing to be at, whether it’s photographing mother’s little grey school-class of 1927 or pasting his photoéd caubeen’s phota up on my father’s son’s faintly wet Italian walls.

I am very wrong, nonsense arrant and sheer. The Roman poet (I have late, too late cribrated and post-cribrated) needed neither wet-room nor Irish slave’s hunkered position as he sounded our challenge to the vermiculation which our being-in-time is heir to : ‘‘those who can, make!’’ – G’wan! In spite of every slave’s daily, holy fight against The Hole. So who is looking at who on my Wet, Wailing Wall? What precisely are they wailing about? Did they save the dam? Kept the march-music going? Were born, they saw what glory? More snare-drum ’n bugles music than Lutoslawski’s strange harp ’n vibraphone subtleties, I ask myself in this by now uncomfortable, contorted position.

(We don’t normally number Horace among the Stoics. Still… ) Perhaps my pasting parental photos up on a still damp wall there does belong also to Horatian aesthetics: carpe photon et photas, picturas de gloriosa miseria humani generis, oaf, yes, and orchestral tutti. Final whimper or final yell. Depending on your line of vision as light falls on my builders’ slapped-up result. You never hunkered in your Soracte wet-room, poet; but your: ‘‘Son, artist, keep de faith’’ could be Old Roman wind, little foreseeable win. Hunkered you are asking hunkered me to take a Pascalian leap, a wet-room risk? Far into the future, you insist, brays, blares my brass-music and we famously programmed to palliate our plight with your home-baked beans mprogramme, classical smartie-poet. This tone-poet. Or his wet-room builders. Or my parents’ phota fixed in two washy photos pasted on my washed, Wailing Wall. What’s now fixed is fixed more (or less?) for ever, will beat Time and the River, the Hole, the Dam, is that what you’re oraculating to me, Horry? Hurray for the sweet and for the decorous, to die for a wet-room, for my orchestral gazebo, a sounding ziggurat, tormented gong, clarinets and marimba and piano and the harp that once. ‘‘Horatian’’ is not ‘‘horrible’’, seldom
‘‘horrid’’. Yet, horrific oracle, orientate this orphan’s orison; the wet wind is blowing through my cell. What Greater-Than-Horace conceived the whole plot? – Did Horry mean ‘‘Fame is a meat that dead men eat’’? – Why didn’t Horsey pen, then: ‘‘Get it / While you can!’’? How shall all manner of things be well?

Corcoran on Lyric F.M.

Sunday , Oct. 1 2006. Lyric Fm 20.50
Frank Corcoran speaks directly from Hamburg, introducing 3 key works from his slightly special 2006 Composers´Choice CD from Berlin, ‘‘Quasi Una Musica- Frank Corcoran’’:
‘‘QUASI UNA VISIONE’’ (2005 RTÉ commission for Ensemble Modern / Sian Edwards )
‘‘VARIATIONS ON A Mháirín De Bharra’’ for Viola Solo (2004 Lyric Fm commission) and
‘‘ 9 ASPECTS OF AN IRISH POEM’’ for Solo Violin and Choir (2004 National Chamber Choir / Catherine Leonard / Celso Antunes. It staggers…. )

Sunday, Oct. 1st, Lyric FM (Ireland) feature my new work and voice on ‘‘Nova’’