Frank Corcoran

irish composer




It was thirty years ago, my break-through year. I wrote that opening page for piano solo with bleeding fingers; it had to re-invent rhythm, to fight against 0ur Western tyranny of the period.
I succeeded. Then comes the cello with its own tempo , gestures and persona.
The violin is a different actor again. I had invented – for me – macrocounterpoint, no longer note against note, but layer or musical flow against layer or flow.
( I don´t necessarily ” like” the sound of the classical piano trio, the two strings having to compromise with the tempered tuning of their a powerful piano – only with this hard-won freedom of MY layered approach could I , I felt, accept the sonorities of this deeply compromised mini-orchestra ). Out of the boiling miasma erupted bits of that Brahms theme.
Yet, before it takes over too powerfully, it´s gone again- quasi una visione .
This early work of mine I love for its poised layers and polytemporal richness of sonorities and gestures and lines.

QUASI UNA MISSA , / after ” Balthazar´s Dream ( Berlin 1980 ) and the Bourgs Festival Premier Prix-winning ” Sweeney´s Vision” ( West German Radio commission of 1997 ) ,
was my third electro-acoustic composition ( Commissioned by West German Radio 1999.
It won the 2002 Swedish E.M.S. Prize ) . Like all my ” quasi- ” works of the late nineties and since, it is a composition of this composer who is musically no longer innocent; I know – sadly – too much world-music, too much music of our Western polyphonic tradition.

I wanted to use – for my four movements – ( – but they´re only ” Quasi”

KYRIE, GLORIA – CREDO , SANCTUS, AGNUS DEI ! ) as my building-blocks two thousand years of Irish God-utterances from our Irish island , bits of texts from the Celtic god, Aimhirgi­n, up through Eriugena and Mac Giolla Bri­de and Berkeley to Beckett and Joyce and God-only-knows what else, an Irish stew of Irish theology, a musical archaeology of 2000 yeras of religious tradition.
My ” KYRIE” ( – abbreviated commas, please ! ) is my homage to Palestrina and to our Western chanted counterpoint, as my sacred syllables fugue towards that magical ” Amen!”
St. Patrick beats with bony wrist St. Patrick
´s Bell.
Quasi- GLORIA has the Wake´s Thunder-word and Glendalough bird-song ( – yes, authentic recordings ! Here , fetishism is all ! )
and a total theophantic eruption, Bronze Age Irish horns from the National Museum, halo and awe.

My Quasi- SANCTUS cooks a heady mix of God-statements plus 7th. c. St. Columbanus´s Latin ” Heia! ” – Chorus ,
his monks rowing backwards up the mighty Rhine from Cologne
( / beside whose great Gothic cathedral I mixed my music ) .

Quasi- AGNUS DEI sums up : Irish sorrow, joy, nunc stans, lullaby and dance and Aran Island keening old women , port- a-bheil ,
in short my Irish Circus


Posted under: Humble Hamburg Musings

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