Frank Corcoran

irish composer

October 2001 CONCERT


Wed, Oct 17, 2001,

6 Bagatelles for Wind Quintet – Ligeti

Hebraische Balladen – Ulrich Leyendecker

die Steine – Peter Michael Hamel

Music for the Book of Kells; Wind Quintet-Sweeney’s Wind-Cries; Trauerfelder-Gort an Bhroin – Frank Corcoran

Ligeti’s Bagatelles of 1953 now seem to him to be “absolutely prehistoric”. It is true that they sound rather like a baroque suite with touches of Stravinsky and Bartok, but they are eminently listenable to, have an individual voice and still sound fresh. The Daedalus Wind Quintet played them with bite and rhythmic vivacity.

The other work for wind quintet last Sunday in the Hugh Lane Gallery was
” Sweeney’s Wind-Cries ” by FRANK CORCORAN who, born in Tipperary and resident in Hamburg, combines a knowledge of Irish culture, including the prehistoric, with a compostitional freedom acquired on the Continent.

In his music it is as if the sounds of nature are transformed, but only half tamed, so there is a nervous balance between discipline and what sounds like licence.
Each of his works immediately creates an atmosphere,
strong but impossible to particularise.

” Music for the Book of Kells ”
opens with a solo for tubular bells, which may suggest the life of monasticism, but when the other members of the R.I.A.M. Percussion Ensemble join in, with much use of the bass drum, it seems that more elemental forces are brought into play.
And when the piano enters, toward the end, played by the composer, it utters primitive sounds not at all like a piano.

” Gort an Bhroin” is perhaps the best embodiment of the recital’s title: “Irish and German Tonal Landscapes”.
In it four percussionists make a threnody for the victims of Auschwitz.

The work opens with tubular bells, but with the accompaniment of a snare drum.
The two effects, rightly, are a world apart.

Posted under: Humble Hamburg Musings

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