Robert Darroll, the animated film artist, died this May in Berlin. In the nineties I got to know him; I loved his “Korean Trilogy”, ( Gestating “Moe´s Field” , then, portended a wholly new departure , a new filmic revolution ) their tens of thousands of little hand-painted pictures individually filmed, composed, sequenced, kineticized, It was Darroll´s special play of images: a dot became a line, a fish, a bird, a bud, a flower, a pool, a stream, a river, an ocean . Movement as poetic, directed by the artist´s narrative and Gestalt-psychological logic. Each of his films was a poem, in the best sense a Horatian hymn to mutation.
Robert Darroll´s departure in 2001 from Hamburg to Tokyo did hurt; and his May death this year brought no closure, no peace, only the Unanswered Question. Yet I, too, plod on. To search is to find, certainly, form, musical forms, as you solder and bend motivs, ideas, colours, lines and masses in rhythms. Pure play as pure delight. No bad thing, Robert Darroll. Back to self-delight, poet Horace. Kinetic excellence, Herr Hanslick.
It is a fish. Is it ?
A word before I slide even more sidewards into oblivion : Is my new work some kind of Conversation With Myself ? Why ever not ? My ( gestating, low cooking ) ALL MY ALTO RHAPSODIES` converses ( with me, certainly , ) “all about “ the Contralto´s layers, her registers, her orchestral accompaniment, her eating / swallowing / in- and digesting and uttering my texts; they are lovingly masticated, savoured , soothed, sung by her whole body. Forty years ago I was worrying : ” Prima la parola e poi la musica.” - That´s now gone. Now it´s all complete cheeks´and glottals , glossolalia and throat´s / lung`s / diaphragm´s pumping, forming, moulding my very lovely text-tone-text-phrase lovingly shaped by me long before ; my shards and shoots and shapes ( and, of course, my shadows. ) Oh. Yes. Before oblivion,okay. Okay, no hysterics in this e-column… I´ll be damned if I play over coy : ” Is this then death” vocal clownery, rather cast-iron forms.
Hot June horse-manure
Binds human flesh with humus
Too tired to die ?
Hot June moon, moan.
Sappho´s thighs dancing like that ?
Steps hot, music light.
Skellig Rock´s weak monks
Saw God in their rheumatism
Please, my God, no more.
Noble Saint Kevin,
His arms outstretched and praying,
Felt no thing, no God
Benjamin Dwyer´s Frank Corcoran Text is at
www.colony.ie Now, today, this minute….
This icy wind ( ” Tramontana ” ) blows straight across our lake from the snowy Apenines; it´s whining storm-force. It chills the bone, though the April sun is warm ( where there´s shelter ) . Here on the West Bank, medieval Gradoli, enormous waves are whipped cold. Never saw the likes of it. As soon as the Tramontana stops blowing and freezing us, we´ll be baked, of course.
Tweaking my texts for my new work, ” MY ALTO RHAPSODIES”. Must contain sharp, arresting pictures plus soaring syllables and high rapture,
quillspilling, windhoverish. Over the top. Like this Tramontana. It will.
Yes, it gets harder. All the time. eg.
For the new ” ALL MY RHAPSODIES “ for Alto and ( Brahms ) Orchestra :
1. I will use my own five Corcoran texts. ( See below )
2. I will watch Brahms´s tessituras ; eg. he approaches a top of E flat / E by a composer´s stealth. – The low Brahms limit is around A or A Flat But I´ll need a dark, erotico, rough-pressed approach to her absolutely lowest F. ( ” Well, is this , then, death ? “ )
1. “ Alto Rhapsody / High, pure, soaring , searing line / My orchestra snores. ”
2. “ For the womb the seed sighs / Thresh and turn and disappear / The high silence drowned…. ”
3. ( – Thus I translated my beloved 1778 Tipperary folksong ” The Prison Of Clonmel ” / ” Priosún Cluain Meala” – a stupendous, Mahlerian / ” quasi militare ” vignette, to be repeated four times by my Contralto and Orchstra , each time with my rhythms, colours,
orchestration, etc. a little changed…. )
“ One short year ago / I strutted to Ardpatrick / To put lace on my bonnet / / Next Friday evening / they´ll shove my head on a pike / It will be snowing on my soul… ”
4. “ Suppose God is light ? / My eye tries to see itself / Soft horns , clarinets.
5. “ Whisper, whisper ” tramonto “ / Tiptoes through my dark window . / Well, is this, then, death ?
What is history ? What is Papal history ? e.g. does a stop-the-traffic-and-ALL-other-visitors to these Viterbo Bagni ( Terme dei Papi Papal visit of a Culo Papale in eg. Dante´s time or even today ( yes, it still happens ) constitute history ?
History of the particular Culo Papale ? Of its Pope? Of his entourage ? Of his times and pomps and fears ? Of theirs ? Whose Cosmic Indifference ( I intend these capitals ) can help our historian here ? Sulphur , noble and healing friend of all our culi, of our scabies and our soul´s gout and skin´s rabies and scurvy worse , was misused, apparently, by John Milton and Co. ( the Jahwist ? From which King James´s ” brimstone “, then ? ) to hot up our hots and to lave our sodomies and our Papal differences and superbic self-lacerations for all of, ahem, recorded time ; I pondered as I raised my own humble(d) culo out of these hot and healing and laving waters of our Thermal Culo Bath.
Maybe it now helps me to compose my newest ALTO RHAPSODY, that chalumeau – Brahmsian , superb and flowing line, my ( Brahmsian ) orchestral chording and voice-accompanying , a melting Satz. Singing the High Song. Ecstasy pure.
April 27 2014
Dublin Royal Hibernian Academy 14.30 to 16.30
Concorde Concert including Irish Premiere of Frank Corcoran´s ” A DARK SONG “ for Solo Bassclarinet ( Paul Roe ) and – for Frank´s
Seventieth Birthday - the first screening of C.M.C.´s commissioned Frank Corcoran film ( Mark Linnane )