Frank Corcoran

irish composer

OH HAPPY HAPPY 1975 NOW DISAPPEARED DOWN THE SLURRY-HOLE FOR EVER

IRISH TIMES APRIL 21 1975

Geraldine Neeson on:

THE CORK CHORAL FESTIVAL

The most controversial event in this years Choral Festival at Cork was, without doubt, Frank Corcoran’s commissioned
SYMPHONIES FOR CHOIR.
This provocative work was first analysed, discussed and performed at the Seminar held in U.C.C. , in conjunction with the Festival, by the Choir of the Goethe Institute Dublin, directed by Cait Lanigan- Cooper, who deserves tremendous praise in accepting and coping so admirably with the challenge presented to her. It received its first public performance the same evening during the programme at the City Hall.

Even with the advantage gained by a second hearing the work presented difficulties to the listener.
It is the most avantgarde music that has found its way into the Festival so far, and reaction was bewildering but enthusiastic.
The various vowel and consonantal sounds found in half a dozen words , chosen from different languages, form the basic sonic material of the work.
Ranges of pitch are approximate; explosive, percussive sounds abound, suggesting the age of technology, and spoken syllables crackle through the score.
The later section of this agressive piece discloses an unexpected tender lyricism, and the whole work has a uniform point in the reiterated G , played on a recorder.
All this may read as if the purpose of the composition were to shock the hearer by the use of successive gimmicks.
I don’t believe this is so.
Mr. Corcoran is certainly a sincere, serious-minded, energetic and enthusiastic man,
but his music is obscure.
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