Frank Corcoran

irish composer

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April 10 2012. High Point University .
J.W.Turner, solo cello:

Frank Corcoran:

“This is a set of 6 miniatures that , with their profoundly lyrical moments punctuated by terse chords or expectant pauses, reflect the same Hibernian poesy and elusive fragments that characterize Frank Corcoran´s prose. See his blog, for example, in the article ” Just To Prove That I Am Not Yet Paralysed” he writes: “Treachery is ubiquitous in language, in memory, in blogging perception, whether the words and tones are self-referential or only half so. My Cello Solo Suite I wrote in 1972. Did I ? Sure, it was influenced by Bach, Kodaly, Henze, that over-blown Reger. No art without the past… ” “


I composed them . Yes:

“Quasi Una Missa” ( 1999 W.D.R. Commission. electro-acoustic . 2002 Swedish EMS Prize )

“Quasi Un Pizzicato” ( Wireworks Ensemble commission 2004. Soprano , Speaker and Ensemble)

“Quasi Un Basso ” ( 2005 . Solo Bass. Allan von Shenkel . Also featured in Hungarian Radio Bartók´s
2006 Bartok Celebrations, Budapest )

” Quasi Variations on A MHAIRIN DE BARRA ” ( Irish Radio commission 2005. Constantin Zanidache,
Solo Viola, recorded it for CD “Composers´Art Label ” LC 00581 )

“Quasi Un Canto” for Large Orchestra ( 2005 World Music Days, Zagreb Philharmonic )

“Quasi Un Lamento” for Chamber Orchestra and accordeon ( N.S.O.I. Dublin 2005 )

“Quasi Una Visione ” for Ensemble Modern ( RTÉ´s “Living Music Festival” , Dublin, 2005 )

“Quasi Un Concerto ” for “CANTUS” Ensemble Zagreb ( Commissioned 2003 from Irish Arts Council . Island of Vis and Zagreb . )

“Quasi Una Fuga” for 18 Strings ( commissioned by Irish Chamber Orchestra, 2007 MBNA Festival )

” Quasi Un Preludio” for Solo Violin ( 2008 )

” Quasi Un Duo ” for Piano and Double-bass ( Duo Moderno 2008 premiere in Bucharest )

QUASI UN LAMENTO ( for my N.S.O.I Concert in Dublin, March 8, 2005 )

If Orpheus had had three saxophones to hand, he also would have availed of their power to mourn. Or an accordeon. Still, it´s important to get rid of the bleating, the whine the old cow died on. Music can lament alright, but it has to get rid of the merely private. While it also affirms, it is bewailing not so much any particular “Dies Irae” as the very passing of the very time of which music is made. Even without the double reeds or any particular register the composer´s plangency begins its unsettling work. In Vasari´s Corridor in the Uffizzi is a fine Roman copy of the Greek original ” Marsyas Being Flayed Alive”. Apollo, a string-player, takes his awful revenge on the poor wind-player. My one-movement work, ” Quasi Un Lamento”, my sound-sculpture, screams , moans; the seven wind-instruments easily overpower anything the four strings can sob; my piano and percussion add a third element of violence. The accordeon at the close can whimper its Requiem “Kyrie”, five tones, Doh-Re-Mi-Fa-Mi, a fundamental archetype of Western music.

And QUASI UN CANTO for Full Orchestra, then. “I don´t like music but I love to sing!” was Leonard Bernstein´s self-protecting spakes on and off television. In “Quasi Un Canto” a prelude ( it doubles at the end as a postlude also ) frames the orchestral song as it unfolds its 5 tones, A,B,C sharp, C,D and E flat in instrumental groups of three ( three trumpets, three flutes, etc. ) and later in groups of four ( celli divisi, etc. )
Hear my song, sardonic, splintered, quasi unisono then. This branches outlegato or blocked or bursting its way through musical space. Harp, piano and a panoply of percussion ( including bodhrá¡n and clashed cymbals to be lowered in a bath-tub of water ) mediate between the ideas which are really one idea. Vertical is horizontal is oblique. This is song, the full throat.


It is time to dust down my choral score of ” MEDIEVAL IRISH EPIGRAMMES” which the RTE Singers under Hans Waldemar Rosen premiered in the then Dublin in 1975. ( It was played then at the 1978 International Composers´Rostrum in Paris 1978 )
These nine Haiku-like miniatures are a window on Iron Age Ireland of those first five centuries A.D.
Stirring singing.

String Quartet No.3


After my ” MAD SWEENEY” generated works of the mid-nineteen nineties ( ” BUILE SUIBHNE / MAD SWEENEY” for Speaker and Chamber Orchestra , 1995, Text by Seamus Heaney ) , this is my ” Quasi Un Quartetto”, the last of the ” Quasi” series.
In the sense that today no composer can remain totally innocent. I write in full knowledge of what Beethoven and Kurtag, but also Berg, Lutoslawski and Ligeti have accomplished with this most fluid and polzphonic-polyvalent medium of music. Mine is in one surging , flowing movement, a kind of musical stream-of-consciousness, referring and feinting and discharging all the elements of fast / slow / violent/ lyrical/ dense/ thin / total stringiness of filigrane. As with Beethoven, everything is extracted out of the opening idea, a clotted knot of tones and intervals spewing out thousands of shapes, chords, soli and tutti. The non-sznchronized passages collide with and are controlled by the metrical music. By the end of this dense, dizzying flow of thirteen minutes , the whole musical argument is born. Quasi.


The leading Swiss New Music group , Ensemble Antipodes of Basle, has commissioned a new
Corcoran Octet, ” Quasi Una Sarabande” . Premiere November 30 2008 in Basle.

KUNSTMUSIK Köln ( Spring 2005 Issue ) has Frank Corcoran´s ” It´s A Cold Wind Blows On An Irish Composer”.


August 23 – 26 Ireland Weekend at Schloß Gaismar, Kassel, will feature the music of Frank Corcoran, inc. “Joycepeak Music “, ” Quasi Una Missa”, ” Sweeney´s Vision” .