Frank Corcoran

irish composer



Watch the musical chips flying. I hone, I plane, drill, tap and tape together end-music, bring in that small middle bit, an opening idea to trigger the whole miraculous Octet off , my Swiss Octet, e-etched ” QUASI UNA SARABANDE ” , heading for its 2008 premiere.

A string-quintet was always hard enough to handle at the best of times ( – It dare NEVER get too heavy ) . Add your horn, often heavy enough bassoon and clarinet till the eight instruments I am composing add up. To eleven minutes of This Frank Enfolding Escorial Story, the sarabande´s ” Tap ,Tip / Ta / – ap, AND / ” , shaped and slapped on my potter-composer´s wheel .Yes, it´s musical narrative; so this comes before that, then just before the other imperial limp of King Philip II in the music.
” Quasi Una Sarabande” must not flog a kingly rhythm to death; it should not depart so far and so cleverly that its thread is lost on and for the C.I.A. My parameters are including – of course – instrumental colour : that bassoon is at the bottom, yes: it does sing its high, nasal top, yes, and so these are glowing hues of horn and clarinet plus/ minus the five strings I did insist on . The rhythmic muster is neither parody nor pose, but rather a kind of grid through which form is flowing. Melodic wisps are cut by the etched lines for two violins or a string-quartet or by all five strings´ stroke-hammer-plink-pluck-plunk . Take that queenly enough viola; you do hear how the music thickens and thins as it sings the Escoriality of things.
The original sarabande of Spanish music was faster than what we have since Bach . “Quasi ” defends me and the eight musicians. of this midget-orchestra of colours and mixtures , bringing the breaking-news, tones, of course , defining content and its contented form.

No cheating here with placards to announce what´s blowing in next. Not a castagnette in sight suggesting ” Death In The Afternoon Foretold ” ; not a trumpet to ease the Octet´s gear-changes with any: ” Fools ! He died for you ! And you ! “.
I only have the eight voices, quasi un chamber-choir ; five strings-plus-three wind. South of Spain bull-shit and -entrails are out .
The little chapters of my Octet group, re-group, start, false start, drill their octatonic stunts for cunning rhythmic cunts with their ” Tap, Tip / Ta- / -ap, AND / ” . Surely, that grid could Guantanamize us rightly . Use care. ) Whistle while I join up fine lines that chortle, chant, dance, honk, slither and slide, ” Quasi” being the pump for all the fluid bits . Any eejit could solder a sarabande, eight bars. Mine, however, writhes.
How to introduce little drops of suffering with the final violin solo ? – A dialogue between the clarinet and cello ; all parts relate to each other and to the whole work, that is what the band is singing. Three cheers for goal-directed song; it goes like this: ” Forget the sarabande. Forget your QUASI coyness” . This emerging Octet I´m chipping , this sculpted musical form is a clenched fist against any disappearing tricks. It´s my small shout in the dark, the horn´s roar against time up. If the nature of being is time, bring on the Sara-bande.

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