QUASI UN CLARINET CONCERTO
( St. Patrick’s Day 2019 in New York 2019 ) Frank Corcoran
My ” Quasi Un Concerto Per Clarinetto ” was commissioned by the Irish Arts Council for this 2019 New York premiere under the baton of Max Lifchitz.
Why ” Quasi ” ?
I as a contemporary composer am no longer innocent; I know too much
of all the concerti written in this genre in the past, from Mozart on ( – after him we are all mere foot-notes… ) .
I will be seventy five this year.
There is little time left – for any prettified ornamentalism.
Yes, the clarinette is a great, soaring soloist. Yes, it pirouettes and climbs to dizzy heights and it descends into the darkest depths.
Yet it must sound true tracing forms, it must sing the unspeakable , as the strings accompany .
I use the three movements of so many past concertoes. Why not ?
In Movement One the soloist’s line is pure kinetic elation – in all its acrobatic runs and kicks and stunts . Yet its ending is dark.
Movement Two is my BIG SONG ( – in Irish ” Amhran Mor ” ) . . The clarinet’s 8 – bar melody sings its own life and death.
Yes, this is music as metaphor.
Movement Three could use as its subtitle the Joycean ” It soared a bird ” from Mr. Bloom’s orgasmic shout in his ULYSSES.
Into the second half strides an 8-note descending bass theme in the lower strings . This dominates till the final rocket-like ascent of the clarinet.
Music as rocket-science ?