Frank Corcoran

irish composer

FERGAL DOWLING ON 2019 DUBLIN MUSIC CURRENT FESTIVAL / F. CORCORAN

This year you are focusing on Irish composer Frank Corcoran with a concert of some of his electro-acoustic works.

What was your motivation behind selecting these works?

We are presenting three of Frank Corcoran’s electro-acoustic works (Quasi una Missa – 1999, Tradurre Tradire – 2004, and Sweeney’s Vision – 1997) in the opening festival concert on Wednesday, 10 April at 7pm.

Dating from 1997–2004, these are amongst the oldest works we have ever presented. This slightly contradicts what I said about ‘current’ music, but I think Frank’s music has an earthy timeless quality. His music doesn’t concern itself with fashions or trends, and these three electro-acoustic works aren’t overly involved with displays of electronic technique that might make the work sound or feel dated.
In fact, they still sound very fresh and direct.

The Light Gleams: a portrait of Frank Corcoran

Historically, these are some of the most significant electronic works by any Irish composer, although they may not now be so well known to Dublin audiences.
So it is important to recognise their significance. These works were originally written for radio, and by their nature are already relatively accessible – in fact they are decidedly ‘radiophonic’, and very effective in this context.

Sometimes ‘tape’ music concerts can be seen as being rather stuffy and academic, and music programmers may be a

little frightened to engage with the form. This is something I wanted to challenge directly.

But above all, I greatly admire the determined Irish-centred character of Frank’s work and his willingness to engage head-on with themes of myth and language.
This subject matter may be somewhat unfashionable, but it is this disregard for trends that allow the works to maintain their freshness and directness of appeal.
When they are heard together in a seamless concert presentation, these works take on a very forceful coherence and logic.

They unfold in a slow deep rhythm, which makes a compelling concert experience outside the normal flow of time.

Posted under: Humble Hamburg Musings

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