Frank Corcoran

irish composer

FRANK CORCORAN ON HIS NEW QUARTET ( 3.3.2019 DUBLIN FESTIVAL )

After Bartok , Ligeti and Lutoslawski

how can I write something hot and strange ?

As I approach the age of seventy five, my new quartet’s 3 movements must aim for tautness ;

the ( time-honoured ) Fast – Slow – Fast model must attempt the ( again time-honoured ) ideal of ” Variety Out Of Unity… ” – in plain English, everything must flow from

the opening bar of Mov. 1. , ” Allegro irascibile ma nobile ” .

Already in this opening is the electric tautness that I want , each instrument using the same 4 notes ( G . A flat . C sharp and D ) in different order .

This Leitmotiv provides the building-blocks for the entire first movement ; – each phrase and colouring and tonal region and my derived versions and expressed yells, screams,
musical protests or denials, they all comes out of the opening sound explosion;

Yes, my architectural ideal here is as old as that of the great string quartets by the Viennese masters , but also those of Webern , Schoenberg and Alban Berg.

“Ex parvis multa” .

My composed unity IS audible ; it’s the thinking ear. The solo cello then announces the simple exhaustion of the 4-note material . Movement One collapses.

Movement Two is a slow celebration of the melodies which I weave out of my Frank Corcoran 7 -Note Scale ( – consisting of G. A flat. C sharp. D. E flat. F sharp. A. ), heardfirst on the first violin, pizzicato. Melody plus accompaniments. That’s it.

Movement Three I have marked “Allegro Barbaro ” and ” feroce e ruvidissimo ” . The throbbing dyads on each of the four instruments shift and interlock , descend or ascend, sounding
great choirs of 4, 5, 6 and 7 voices.

This is no Irish minimalism but rather the most violent string music I have ever imagined.

The final chords are also all derived from the quartet’s opening. ( “In my end is my beginning”. ) No neo-Bartokisms or Lutoslawskieries but neo-Corcoran.

High voltage. Kinetic art.

Posted under: Humble Hamburg Musings

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