This winter I have once again had to catch myself on…
Among my tender young composer’s works and pomps from my 1970 ( I was 26 years old, now c’mon ! ) to 1990 ( I eventually became 46, bruised butnot bowed ) there are
certainly some strong, extraordinary gob-smackers and musical ear-whackers among my. Certainly.
– So how come I had so long ignored, mistrusted, forgotten even and was
uncomfortable with, even silent about these creative achievements ?
Today, late in the day , I got my hands again on a catalogue of the young Frank Corcoran’s long-forgotten
compositions from those seventies and eighties. I
was knocked sideways … So I must ask again : Why so long my lack of ” appreciation” of some of my own best works which I’ll mention here.
Take the early choral MEDIEVAL IRISH EPIGRAMMES of 1973 – here is a crispl and fresh handling of delightful Early Celtic texts ; and that choral HERR JESU CHRIST
of a few years later tackles the Baroque poetry of Paul Eber, with dark spirituality. – it breathes a quasi Black Death-terror of the 16th. century plague in Europe .
Again, I see / hear fresh and courageous colours, quasi instrumetal.. ). The orchestral
THREE SYMPHONIC PIECES ( ” Pictures From My Exhibition ” ) of 1975 explores just that, the instrumentating pencil as my paint-brush
in these dramatic movements .
Only now in late reflection do I see how that young Irish composer’s lonely struggle against a vicious ocean of
snobbery, ignorance and anti-art
prejudice and a general bankruptcy of spirit in my Dublin weakened continuously a brave young composer coming from
Yoblands. Yes. -Out there was not only Irish total depression or economic hopelessness
but a – far worse- moral failure in our “middle class ” to accept good Irish art or artists; to understand me as a
composing artist on my Irish island ; to ever dare to imagine my extending of the boundaries of the musically permissible.
Invincible ignorance weakens.
I did not compromise; I decided not to give in in my composing to cheap solutions. Forge strong musical forms and don’t repeat yourself…
The Piano Trio, my break-through ( in 1978 ) to a new macro-counterpoint was an extraordinary victory over both my
musical material and that dreadful “musical” ( ! )ambience.
Before withdrawing to Berlin in 1979 on a Berlin Artist’s Scholarship, the Wind Quintet of that same
year shows highest qualities of, I’ll say it again and again , imagined compositional courage ( see the opening bars for those fresh , leaping upper
woodwinds ) .
No, it was no fun to have to fight national dopyness or intellectual laziness, to have to persist in a lonely composer’s microcosmos .
The fight could have snuffed them out, the creative energies . And yet those three works which I carpentered and
crafted in that first Berlin ” annus mirabilis ” . my Symphonies Of Symphonies for 23 Wind, the
2. Symphony and “Balthazar’s Dream” which was the first piece ever which I created in the electronic studies of the
Technical University are as huge as any orchestral, chamber or computer-works I have attempted since.
Many times I faltered, I nearly let that dreadful indifference and lack of resonance take over. The opera ,
“Gilgamesh” I comosed entirely alone in
the domestic, mental insanity of 1986 – 1989.
Time to stop listing here any jousts nd catastrophes and recoveries, I suppose.
By 1990 in distant America, I had crafted “Music For The Book Of Kells”,
my sounding portrait of Early Iron Ireland. Hmmm, I suppose I had won through , bloodied but unbowed. gone strange in my head and in its musical images.
Still. The lesson which I forgot for many decades since was : head down, forward fighting; never for an instant give in to the barbarians and Yahoos.
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