Frank Corcoran

irish composer

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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….

The Association of Irish Composers, the Contemporary Music Centre and soundSCAPE Festival are delighted to announce Benjamin Dwyer as the 2016 Irish Artist-in-Residence at the festival in Maccagno, Italy.

soundSCAPE Festival is a contemporary music festival and summer school which takes place over two weeks each year in the beautiful town of Maccagno in the Italian Alps. The festival features daily concerts and seminars from faculty, students and guest artists. Students of the summer school receive regular one-to-one tuition in contemporary music performance and composition. Most importantly, artists from all over the world meet to exchange ideas and become part of a growing international network of composers and performers. In 2016, the festival will take place from 1st – 14th July.

Benjamin Dwyer is a composer, musicologist and performer, who is dedicated to studying, performing and presenting contemporary Irish music at home and abroad. At the festival, he will present talks on his large-scale work Umbilical, and on Joycean Aesthetics in the music of Frank Corcoran.


Four weeks now since I fled Humbug City for southern climes. Climbing, the aircraft waggled its tail….
Here all is ” Paletti”, great April dawns still washed by pink as the Spring weather struggles to be born. A green explosion of wild flowers, vast Lazio sheep-herds, peasants’ chat.
Same as last year – the hunt is on for musical form, forms, symmetric and as- , the relationships of the composed parts to the imagined total, the whole hog, finished and baked new work.
Until the summer recordings of the Cello Concerto and “Rhapsodic Bowing” for 8 Celli , the new “Irish Duets” for Cello and Piano and the January 2016 spawned Piano Trio ( with Viola ) , there’ll be the inevitable suspension of flow as expectancy rises. A good buoyancy, the musical pen poised and pared . For what new work ?
Ah. And, yes, the old questions will remain this golden – Hellish summer : why ? For whom ? How ?