Frank Corcoran

irish composer

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Yes, my EIGHT HAIKUS will appear with Schott of Mainz. Yes, my FESTSCHRIFT FRANK CORCORAN  will appear in Hamburg. Yes, my IRISH DUETS for Cello and Piano will be premiered at the Teatro Mancinelli , Orvieto, and at the Piccolo Teatro Cavour, hot end of this hot month. Yes, yes, un poco this and un poco that to keep the hot pen dancing, – best in the early cool morning hours. Even a Sahara composer must keep to the regime , must hone the imagination and, ahem, technique , spinning, moving and mixing fiery, hot tones with cooler, – yes, building sounding castles in this empty , breathless air. Dogs and curlews keep a low profile. Dormant snakes, no.


Write this down: there’s no such thing as good work without the whip, the lash, the fear of oblivion at dawn, the tax-exactor’s knock or the cruisgin lan either, the pursuit of wraiths and media and promises. Watch rotten compromise in every shape. Keep in shape through counterpoint exercises. Melt the slack off of the instrumental line, two or more. Turn off the light before midnight, certainly, the work done and the kettle de-blacked . Whistle concerto.


Frank Corcoran talks about his new cello concerto

Contemporary Music Centre

Frank Corcoran talks to CMC about his Cello Concerto, which Martin Johnson premiered on 13 March with the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra and conductor Kenneth Montgomery.

Published on 3 April 2015


Yes, it will give me immense satisfaction to have new work premiered by great musicians at my Orvieto Concert ( Teatro Mancinelli , 31. July ) and my Bolsena Concert (  Piccolo Teatro Cavour,  2. August.) , both venues pearls of the Italian Ottocento.


Works from my new ongoing “Irish Pearls” which are little duets for cello and piano using Old Irish material – till now eight Sean Nos Airs, each one an explosive beauty;  these my settings ( say better  distillations ) are neither neo-romantic ( – that was the vicious old trap for Irish composers since James Joyce and earlier – I include Thomas Moore and Beethoven’s Irische Lieder ) ,  nor in any way neo-Bartok, nor yet neo minimalistic ( – Ugh ! ) but , well, neo-.Corcoran.

Immense. Listen.




Martin Johnson  CELLO

Adele Johnson  VIOLA

Fergal Caulfield   PIANOFORTE

31.7.2015  Teatro Mancinelli Ridotto ( Orvieto )  and  2.8.2015   Piccolo Teatro Cavour, Bolsena, Italy :

Music by Johannes Brahms, Franz Schubert, Frank Corcoran and David Popper.

JUNE 25 2015

Dear Frank,
We have been invited to submit a collection from our digital archive to the Digital Repository Ireland’s new online platform, which will launch next week, and your works Three Pieces for Orchestra and  Symphony No. 2 will be included in this collection.
Digital Repository Ireland (DRI) is a national trusted digital repository for Ireland’s social and cultural data, linking together and preserving both historical and contemporary data held by Irish institutions (see
The platform will bring together collections from a number of cultural institutions, and CMC is one of three institutions which is providing a music collection in time for the initial launch.
The collection which we are providing is entitled ‘Irish Orchestral Music – a selected list’, and brings together sample pages from the scores along with audio samples for a cross-selection of orchestral works contained in CMC’s library.
We have provided the DRI with a PDF of sample pages of the scores, along with an audio sample up to 1 minute. All materials will be clearly marked as being copyrighted by the relevant copyright holders.
We think that this is an important opportunity for the work of Irish composers to be part of an innovative platform for Irish cultural heritage, and their inclusion should help raise awareness of this important body of work among visitors to the platform.



The odd photon floating around below in the June garden; one nestling bird can’t sleep but doesn’t know quite why. Does the adder rest?

My Six Irish Duets for Cello and Piano continue to expand

( Orvieto Concert on July 31. but Bolsena Piccolo Teatro is on August 2. ).

Nr. 7, MO ROISIN DUBH, now definitely born ; and Nr. 8, PRIOSUN CLUAIN MEALA , just worked out a beaut. Yes, the piano as a Mahler orchestra , but has to do a lot more; the cello isolates, in each case, the song’ s vital , form-building interval or motiv. Noble.In “The Prison Of Clonmel” my protagonist faces his awful death – next Friday they’ll shove his head up on a Tipperary pike – with , near the end of the verse a thrilling ascent of a fourth way up to the high tonic before the whole thing collapses. In “My Dark Rosaleen”  in the initial phrase, it’s a high wire jump of a fifth as the line climbs. Then it falls. Corcoran’s inexorability. Each of these two  arch-forms, is great folk-art, each transcends its own linear material; each bursts asunder.


I have to beat time on several summery fronts. Mark it. Conquer it, if you will. You will. Beat it as if it were a tom-tom ( a tam-tam, no ) , a gong-tormented background film-score.

So this recent time has “seen” ( heard ? )  new chamber-works, the new String-quartet – with doublebass, 3 Pixels for Oboe and String Trio, 3 Pieces for Piano and Violin, my beautiful Six Irish Duets for Cello and Piano. Waiting,  too, for the Schott production of Eight Haikus for SS AA TT BB Choir, also for my Festschrift Frank Corcoran. The corncrake keeps busy in the summer harvest ( –  corn-crakes  have almost vanished in more Northern climes, THE CUCKOOS ALSO ! )  . Coffee-beans in the hot  summer sun. The adder or  the viper, wait. James P Graham’s stunning exhibition, ” Calling For The Infinite Sphere”, Curator Giorgio de Finis, in the Palazzo Cozza Caposavi in nearby Bolsena, from June 21 on. My August Bolsena and Orvieto Concerts, too. Beating time. Watch the beat. Off-beat.


It nearly finished me off , too, my finishing of the new Piccolo Quartetto Filarmonico for doublebass, cello, viola and violin. Apart from wanting to keep it light and fluffy , contrasting high and low,  balancing  the higher strings against mighty bass or cello or both, there was the awesome problem of form. I settled for a kind of rosary-beads with the chain of little sections, barred or non synchronized, grave metric music versus my ” spatters”  ( passages where each instrument plays its part as fast as possible – this brings striving forward, music with a goal , also breathlessness ) for non synchronized  four or three or even two instruments. Yes, philharmonic with high flageolettes, flight and arc and “I caught this morning morning’s minion” music. All in one multi-chaptered movement. I solved this form, its trajectory. Only eight minutes. Packed.

The dawn is up. A good, mysterious day.