Frank Corcoran

irish composer


Corcoran, Frank(b Borrisokane, Tipperary,1 May 1944 ).

Irish composer.

He studied music at St Patrick’s College, Maynooth (1961–4), music, philosophyand theology in Rome (1964–7) at the Pontificio Istituto di Musica Sacra andthe Università del Laterano, and composition in Berlin with Blacher (1969–71).He has served as music inspector for the Irish Department of Education(1971–9), been a guest of the Berlin Artist’s Programme (1980–81) and has taught at the Staatliche Hochschule für Musik, Stuttgart (1982–3) and the Staatliche Hochschule für Musik und Darstellende Kunst, Hamburg (from 1983).

He was elected to Aosdána, the Irish academy of creative artists, in 1983.

He was a Fulbright visiting professor and Fulbright scholarin the U.S. in 1989-1990.

His compositions have won a number of prizes including :
the Studio Akustische Kunst First Prize in 1996 for Joycepeak Music,
first prize at the Bourges International Electro-acoustic Music Competition in 1999 for Sweeny´s Vision, the EMS Prize,Stockholm in 2002 for Quasi Una Missa and the International Federation for Choral Music’s Second International Competition for Choral Composition for EightHaikus in 2013.

Corcoran has developed a distinctand complex language of aleatory macro-counterpoint in which sound layers are superimposed polyphonically but retain independence through distinctive polymetric, agogic and dynamic indications. This technique is evident from theearly Piano Trio (1978) to Ice Etchings no.1 and Mad Sweeney(both 1996). The later was the first of a series of works initially inspired by Seamus Heaney’s translation of the Irish epic.

His many cultural interests are reflected in the texts of his vocal works; theopera Gilgamesh (1990), for example, is based on a Sumerian epic. The IrischeMikrokosmoi for piano (1993) are based on traditional Irish melodies andrhythms. From 1999 until 2009 to he worked on a seriesof works utilizing the descriptor ‘quasi.’

++++++++++++++These ranged from orchestral workssuch as Quasi un canto and Quasi un Visione to solo instrumental works such as Quasi un Basso.

Works (selective list)Op:

Gilgamesh (G. Rosenstock and Corcoran), 1990 Orch:Carraig Aonair Suite, 1976; Chbr Sym., 1976; 3 Pieces ‘Pictures from MyExhibition’, 1976; Caoine [Lament], fl, str, 1979; Sym. no.1 ‘Syms. of Syms. ofWind Insts’, 1981; Sym. no.2, 1981; Conc., str, 1982; Farewell Syms.(Corcoran), spkr, orch, tape, 1982; Shadows of Gilgamesh, 1988; Cantus decalamitate hiberniorum in patria antiqua, 1991; 6 Irische Mikrokosmoi, str,1994; Sym. no.3, 1994; Sym. no.4, 1996; Quasi un canto,2002; Quasi un concertino, 2003; Quasi un vision, 2004; Quasi un fuga, 2005;

Violin Concerto, 2011; Cello Concerto, 2012

Vocal(SATB, unless otherwise stated):

Aifreann [Mass], unison vv, org, 1973; Dá nAimhirgín (old Irish), 1973; 9 Medieval Irish Epigrams, 1973; 2 Meditations (J.Barth), spkr, orch, 1973; More (J. Pupacic), 1976; Herr Jesu Christ (P. Eber),1978; 5 Liric de Chuid Rosenstock [5 Lyrics after Rosenstock], S, pf, trio,1980; Das Stundenbuch (R.M. Rilke), SATB, org, 1990; Mad Sweeney (S. Heaney),spkr, chbr orch, 1996; Quasi una melodia (Anon), S, asax, vib, mar, vn, va, pf, 2000; Beyond Beckett, S, vn, vc, b cl, 2006; Songs of Terror and Love (F. Corcoran & Jacopone Da Todi), B, fl+picc+afl,cl+bcl, pf, vn+va, vc, 2011; Two UnholyHaikus (G. Rosenstock, F. Corcoran), 2011; Eight Haikus (F. Corcoran),SSAATTBB, 2012 Chbr:Brass Qnt, 1973; Chbr Sonata, fl, vn, va, vc, perc, 1974; Gestures of Sound and Silence, vc, pf, 1976; Str Qt no.1, 1976; Pf Trio, 1978; Shorts, vn, vc, 1978;Wind Qnt, 1978; Str Qt no.2, 1979; Rhapsodies on a Windy Night, cl, vn, va, vc,db, perc, 1981; Lines and Configurations, b cl, mar, 1983; 5 Amhráin ganFhocail [5 Songs without Words], ob, eng hn, trbn, perc, pf, str, 1984; Musicfor the Book of Kells, 5 perc, pf, 1990; 4 Concertini of Ice, fl, ob, cl, hn,vn, vc, db, perc, 1992; Dream Song, fl, cl, bn, vc, gui, pf, 1992; See-Through Music, fl, vn, va, vc, pf, perc, 1993; 4 Miniatures, fl, vc, 1994; Rhapsodic Thinking, 4 vn, 1994; Rhapsodic Delight, 2 vn, 1995; Trauerfelder, 4 perc,1995; Ice Etchings, wind nonet, 1996; Str Qt no.3,1997; Wind Qnt no. 3, 1999; Sweeney’sSmithereens, fl, pic, cl+bcl, perc, pf, vn, db, 2000; Quasi una Sarabanda, cl,bn, hn, 2 vn, va, vc, db, 2009; Clarinet Qnt, 2011Soloinst: Suite, vc, 1972; Sonata, org, 1973; The Quare Hawk, fl, 1974; Variations with Air, a sax, 1976; Hernia, db, 1978; Changes, pf, 1979; Mythologies, perc,1979; Variations on Caleno Costure, hpd, 1982; 3 Pieces, cl, 1987; 3 Pieces,gui, 1990; Irische Mikrokosmoi, pf, 1993; Ice-Etchingsno. 2, vc, 1996; Sweeney’s Total Rondo, pf, 2002; Quasi un basso, db, 2005; Inthe deep heart’s core, hp, 2011; A dark song, b cl, 2011

Tape: Balthasar’s Dream, 1980; Joycespeak, 1995; Sweeney’s Vision, 1997; Sweeney’s Last Poem, 1998; Quasi una missa, 1999 MSS in IRL-Dc
Principal publishers: Naxos . Selfhelp, Schott. Hayo Music. Edition Ferrimontana.

Bibliography KdG (A. Kreutziger-Herr) A.Klein: Die Musik Irlands im 20. Jahrhundert (Hildesheim, 1996) J. Page: ‘A Post-War “Irish” Symphony: Fran kCorcoran’s Symphony no. 2’ in Cox & Klein (eds) Irish Musical Studies 7: Irish Music in the Twentieth Century(Dublin, 2002)Gareth Cox . Different Voices: Benjamin Dwyer 2016.

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