Frank Corcoran

irish composer

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Scribo ergo sum. Certainly it is I who am writing this. So I exist. These few lines of thought-out woffle also. So
I compose words . I write tones, periods, washes and masses, thin or thick, diagonal harmonies , dialogues
between my instrumental lines; all these intervals, heavy with Pythagoras, all emanate; they create aura or stir up ancient emotions and associations, atavistic
memories .
Take the current new work for Clarinet and Strings. I struggle with its form, forms, how it will all hang
togetherin the sweet by and by. I will solve it all. I believe. I must believe.Whether ever a living soul or a listening ear hears and delights.
My time gainsdignity; this play matters . Who shall separate the whistle?
I’ll write on. I exist alright , also the tones and words I’ve composed. Oh yes…. Dig on.


June 1 and 2 in Dublin’s National Concert Hall the Irish National Symphony Orchestra with soloist , Martin Johnson, and conductor, Gavin Moloney, recorded all four movements of my ( 2015 in Dublin premiered ) CELLO CONCERT.
I was gob-smacked and gob-whipped.
The ears of the young Nordklang ( Berlin ) / RTE – Lyric Fm production unit for my cello music were awesome; the
N.S.O. ( – Yes, they had over the years premiered so many Frank Corcoran orchestralia orchestraliorum with great success ) was highly motivated, molto concentrated.
I heard my CELLO CONCERTO – being born literally new,
the thrill of a bar of bass clarinet or a dab of double bassoon, sheer Old Roman Army bucina terror of my 4 unison french horns in the unleashed violence of the third movement, oboe and a clarinet with Dvorak’s hymn – lightly chromaticized – at the lyrical beginning of the Slow Movement.
Astonishing ! Young ears. Great young ears, the players and the conductor and my C.D. – Producer –

PEERLESS Martin Johnson’s mighty Solo Cello, its ebbs and flows and sfumature, every detail , all and every


Dear Frank,

I have now added the videos and audio excepts from the ‘Different Voices’ page to your profile.

You can view your profile here:

I think it’s really taking shape nicely! Let me know if there’s anything else you wish to add.

Best wishes


How do I tap into the deep-earth / oceanic ?

I suppose it is a combination of deep listening and my respecting goblets of sleep fragments, – resist the easy solution,
no fakery in the work. Patience, too.

I certainly got it in TRAUERFELDER and MUSIC FOR THE BOOK OF KELLS , the big percussion works of the early nineties. But also in the computer made SWEENEY’S VISION ( 1997 ) and, two years later, QUASI UNA MISSA.

The best of the symphonic stuff have it eg. the opening of my Second Symphony ( 1981 in Berlin I dreamed it ) with low basses and percussion and

Also new work eg. this January’s 2. Piano Trio ( with its Viola chalumeau quite different from the first Piano Trio
of forty years ago. ). And new gestating work for Clarinet and String Orchestra.

We will hear . The Geyser’s Song…. let it flow. Control.


As you are aware there will be a launch by Dr Mark Fitzgerald in CMC, next Thursday, 630pm, 6 Nov of Ben Dwyer’s Book Different Voices.

Following on from the launch the RIAM has organised a concert in Smock Alley Theatre – Boys School. Further details of this concert available from Ciara Higgins, copied above. Please note the RIAM has been having problems with emails across the past week or so.

I attach below an outline of the programme as I know it today in case you are unaware of the event or your work being programmed.

I hope to see you at the launch in CMC. Invite attached for this with full details.

All best.


1) O’Connell: Ictus
2) Bodley: An Dreóilín
3) Cleary:Morphine (tape)
4) Corcoran: Quasi un Missa (excerpt)

Gabriel Rosenstock – Poet Extraordinary – Inventing Himself As He Went Along

Given Rosenstock’s long and prolific career, it is unsurprising to find that the poems chosen for this volume differ considerably in their style and form. A wide spectrum of metrical formats and stanzaic patterns characterize the volume, yet throughout all of these variations can be heard a consistent and easily recognizable voice. That voice is an intellectual one, eager, searching, at times struggling to define and re-define experiences and reflections of many sorts. It is a voice for which language itself represents a peculiar mixture of opportunities and limitations. As he expresses it in his poem SPRACHE (LANGUAGE), which I’ll quote here — ironically enough — in English:

And when Frank Corcoran
writes to me from Hamburg
the medley is wonderful:
Tipperary Irish
(I know, it’s extinct)
Maynooth Latin (
I know…)
and a few marginal notes
of faltering glissando.
I know how he feels.
These days to say nothing any way reasonable
is difficult in any language …
issaki no kaki ku’u muku wo yurushi oku
as Yoshiko Yoshino might say


Frank, 4 Movements from Frank Corcoran QUASI UNA MISSA ( it won the 2002 Swedish E.M.S. Prize )

Thanks so much for sending these over. I feel that these fit our show very well, and we would like to broadcast them next week, Thursday May 5 at 1am EST. There are also periodic rebroadcasts that will take place at the station’s discretion of select Saturdays throughout May and beyond. You can find more information and tune in at:

They will also archive the show soon after the broadcast. If you are interested, you can hear past broadcasts on the website.


In 2014 for NDR, North German Radio, I made the following ” radiophonic ” analyses ( PRISMA MUSIK ) plus broadcast accompanying Corcoran orchestral works :

25.1.2014 Brahms VIOLIN CONCERTO plus Corcoran VIOLIN CONCERTO

21.6.2014 Strauss TILL EULENSPIEGEL plus Corcoran 3. SYMPHONY

20.9. 2014 Dvorak 9. SYMPHONY plus Corcoran QUASI UNA FUGA

1.11. 2014 Schubert WINTERREISE plus Corcoran 4 ORCHESTRAL PRAYERS

4.4.2015 Mozart 2 SYMPHONIES plus Corcoran CLARINET QUINTET

22.1.2016 Dvorak CELLO CONCERTO plus Corcoran CELLO CONCERTO

9.12.2016 Schubert STRING QUINTET plus Corcoran 4. SYMPHONY


I am , in a way, banjaxed; back to square one:

The birthday ( May 1, ) came and went. So I existed. But he who had last Sunday his birthday is no longer he who writes this lofty codswallop, hoofing it again backwards ( – me as a film- ) at great speed or hurtling forward with even greater speed ( ? ) in the time remaining to me ( – me as spaceship- ).
Can I grasp me as existing in time ? Not really. So use the time . Make a few more musical constructions of instinct and emotions and , yes, intellect and , well, musical crafting . eg. Suppose I want to write a new work for 13 strings and clarinet – to whom should I turn ? What’ll I listen to and marvel at ? Not so much bend or weld/ wield which particular tones to shape my melodic lines and accompanying string masses but why ? At what end aim ? Then there’ll have to be aura in it, composed breathlessness, catastrophe, ecstasy or, indeed, serenit’a .

So how’ll I do all this ? And listen to intervallic stuff surfacing from, say, sleep or dreams or chance ? Melodic bits of youthful flotsam ? Add play, crafty fun ?

I’ll have enough to do this hot summer. Bygum. Without even considering yet the stochastic , macrocounterpoint, the whole rhythmic thing.


” Non fui. Fui. Non sum. Non curo. ” Four lines. These.

That’s what he chiselled on his tombstone.( Was he still alive during this chiselling activity ‘s what I’d just like to know…. ? – Lying as he chiselled ? As he lay there ? )
His disembodied voice from his grave bravely claims” Non Sum “- so why believe his blythe ” Non Curo” , I ask myself . No answer because he’d chiselled ” Fui” ( therefore “Non sum ” ? – Is that it ? ) But then he boasts ” Non sum ! ” , so his following on ” Non curo” now has just lost ‘im every atom of our respect; inded we are tempted to react angrily with our very own ” Non curo ,CULO !”. After all, we can all easily assert ” Non fui” – so what’s great about that ? – That out of his( bleated ) ” Non fui” emerges his ( bloated ) ” Fui “. Ever heard of Miss non Sequitur, grave chiseller ? And how can he go about proving that his hurled ” Non curo” is not empty ? His grave is not empty. His swan’s song is all ended ?
And yet. And yet. That grave( ouch ! ) courage ,that hurled challenge to Who ? These three Promethean syllables do have something grave ( ouch ! again )…. Their ” 0 ” and their ” u ” and then their” oo ” .
Vocal music. Grave music. Well now, suppose he’d got just a little more poetic symmetry into his tombstone dirge, something like eg.
” Non fui. Fui. Non sum. Sum. Non curo. Curo. ” – Or some such ? – we write it out in a verse:
” Non fui. Sum. Non sum. Curo. Culo.”
More chiselling later….