Frank Corcoran

irish composer

Hmmm – Among My Sounding Souvenirs

Actually it was always “fun” , forming and shaping a radio-programme, a quickie or an epic longie , in whatever language. More for myself than any other I will recall some I made over thirtyfive odd years. “Stravinsky´s SACRE” was a big two hour job for Hessische Rundfunk in them very dark middle eighties. Jump to almost yesterday for a radio-beaut for Lyric Fm : ” Bach Came Through Borrisokane” where I proved the Leipzig Meister´s behind many a sean nós Slow Air ( – more anon on this shape-shifting act of musicology…. No answer from Irish Musikwissenschaftler, any. None. Why ? ) . For Norddeutscher Rundfunk´s ” PRISMA MUSIK ” these past few years I´ve been practising the gentle art of Radiophonic Analysis, an almost Hans Keller analysis of, say Beethoven´s Seventh , ( – was it his “Irish” ? – Really ? ) or Mozart´s c – minor Piano Concerto, or his heart-breaking g – minor String Quintet, and so on. I remember doing a lot of programmes – again those eighties – on traditional Irish music for the Bayerischer Rundfunk. Beginning of the nineties I recorded 6 programmes, ” La Musica dell´Isola Smeralda” for R.A.I. in Rome, including a few orchestral Corcoran works. Grand work for Bremen Radio also. W.D.R. commissioned all kinds of disparate programmes from me , from a large Irish radio-stew of political figures ( yes, I did interview Charlie Haughey for that, many other Irish voices , too ) entitled ” Die Grüne Insel – politische Stimmen ” on to themes closer to my heart like ” György Ligeti´s Frühe Chormusik” or ” Music As Religious Expression “, or “Webern´s Atonality”, or “Frank Corcoran – Self-Portrait” etc. Munich Radio commissioned my big ” Berkeley´s Philosophy ; Esse Est Percipi ! ” There was Sender freies Berlin and His Maestro´s Voice. Then in the mid-nineties they had my week-long NDR Afternoons presenting a grateful Hamburg public all the then recorded works of Charles Ives. I even made a self-portrait for the then German Democratic ( ! ) Republic´s Berlin Radio. To balance things, I then made another for the other crowd, R.I.A.S. Deutschland , too; I remember painting a large radiophonic canvas with my Fulbright Professor´s year 1989 – 1990 in the U.S. for DeutschlandFunk ( – in Cologne by the mighty Rhine where , a few years later, I could capture the wash and spume of that vast water in my “SWEENEY´S VISION” in 1997 ; two years later this won the premier Prix at the ( now in mortal danger from Sarkozy´s chop ) Bourges Festival. ) Back to Lyric Fm and ” James Joyce, the greatest Irish Composer ” and other jewels. With Tim Lehane on RTE Radio there was at least, I remember, ” Do You Call THAT Music !?” and my commentaries – performances of ” Frank Corcoran´s Irische Mikrokosmoi”. There was more, certainly . An archives is a grand thing. Must dig out old mss. old wounds bleed. old broadcasting joy. Ephemeralities ? Depends on your metaphysics – of sound, of time, of smoke, of artistic intent, of enjoyment plus comoposition and words and things and flights of radio-fancies . Yerra !
Oh , I will nearly not forget ” The Quiet Corner” a few sets of them, for RTE. Nor my Brahms Symphony for Hamburg ( which one ? ) . Nor Beethoven´s EROICA which is scheduled for broadcasting on, I think, March 20 coming. Plenty more. The radio liveth yet. The ear understands with it. Great etherial joy. Powerful time-stunts.

Hmmm – Among My Sounding Souvenirs

Actually it was always “fun” , forming and shaping a radio-programme, a quickie or an epic longie , in whatever language. More for myself than any other I will recall some I made over thirtyfive odd years. “Stravinsky´s SACRE” was a big two hour job for Hessische Rundfunk in them very dark middle eighties. Jump to almost yesterday for a radio-beaut for Lyric Fm : ” Bach Came Through Borrisokane” where I proved the Leipzig Meister´s behind many a sean nós Slow Air ( – more anon on this shape-shifting act of musicology…. No answer from Irish Musikwissenschaftler, any. None. Why ? ) . For Norddeutscher Rundfunk´s ” PRISMA MUSIK ” these past few years I´ve been practising the gentle art of Radiophonic Analysis, an almost Hans Keller analysis of, say Beethoven´s Seventh , ( – was it his “Irish” ? – Really ? ) or Mozart´s c – minor Piano Concerto, or his heart-breaking g – minor String Quintet, and so on. I remember doing a lot of programmes – again those eighties – on traditional Irish music for the Bayerischer Rundfunk. Beginning of the nineties I recorded 6 programmes, ” La Musica dell´Isola Smeralda” for R.A.I. in Rome, including a few orchestral Corcoran works. Grand work for Bremen Radio also. W.D.R. commissioned all kinds of disparate programmes from me , from a large Irish radio-stew of political figures ( yes, I did interview Charlie Haughey for that, many other Irish voices , too ) entitled ” Die Grüne Insel – politische Stimmen ” on to themes closer to my heart like ” György Ligeti´s Frühe Chormusik” or ” Music As Religious Expression “, or “Webern´s Atonality”, or “Frank Corcoran – Self-Portrait” etc. Munich Radio commissioned my big ” Berkeley´s Philosophy ; Esse Est Percipi ! ” There was Sender freies Berlin and His Maestro´s Voice. Then in the mid-nineties they had my week-long NDR Afternoons presenting a grateful Hamburg public all the then recorded works of Charles Ives. I even made a self-portrait for the then German Democratic ( ! ) Republic´s Berlin Radio. To balance things, I then made another for the other crowd, R.I.A.S. Deutschland , too; I remember painting a large radiophonic canvas with my Fulbright Professor´s year 1989 – 1990 in the U.S. for DeutschlandFunk ( – in Cologne by the mighty Rhine where , a few years later, I could capture the wash and spume of that vast water in my “SWEENEY´S VISION” in 1997 ; two years later this won the premier Prix at the ( now in mortal danger from Sarkozy´s chop ) Bourges Festival. ) Back to Lyric Fm and ” James Joyce, the greatest Irish Composer ” and other jewels. With Tim Lehane on RTE Radio there was at least, I remember, ” Do You Call THAT Music !?” and my commentaries – performances of ” Frank Corcoran´s Irische Mikrokosmoi”. There was more, certainly . An archives is a grand thing. Must dig out old mss. old wounds bleed. old broadcasting joy. Ephemeralities ? Depends on your metaphysics – of sound, of time, of smoke, of artistic intent, of enjoyment plus comoposition and words and things and flights of radio-fancies . Yerra !
Oh , I will nearly not forget ” The Quiet Corner” a few sets of them, for RTE. Nor my Brahms Symphony for Hamburg ( which one ? ) . Nor Beethoven´s EROICA which is scheduled for broadcasting on, I think, March 20 coming. Plenty more. The radio liveth yet. The ear understands with it. Great etherial joy. Powerful time-stunts.

SHIFTERS AND SHAPERS

Well, the composer´s ” I ” HAS a ” holy excuse ” ( – See my previous message to a carefully thankful cosmos ) . Uncork ! – Uncork what ? This sake ! Why ? It is because the poet sees : ” New year / New dew-drops!
” – Heavens ! The worth of words, heaving poor WHamlet´s whuge word-and-tone pile, wonder-and- piles a-plenty ! Whisper the vowel-shift and – whorls of Gabriel Rosenstock´s original ” Fís ” , his vow-vision leaf-meal ( – so whither MY choral whither ? Wrist ? Whist ? ) :
” Cactais / Tráthnóna Fomhair / Leamh, gan snua…. ”
I bow my composer´s nib before pith.

A TALL COMPOSER´S TAIL ( SORRY , OF COURSE , ” TALE” )

A small job, a quickie . Not so, not . We shall suppose that I “set ” the following Two Haikus – how heavenly, keep-the-hand-in – for a little S.A.T.B. relax. The texts, Irish . Consider:

” Uncork the sake ! / I have a holy excuse ! / New Year , new dew-drops…. ” = ” Cúis mhaith chun sake a ól ! / Breathnú ar bhraonta drúchta ! / I mbliana. ”
And now, hushed, my, his second beaut: ” They´re bored . How boring! / These cactus faces have bored / Our autumn to death! ” = ( Gabriel Rosenstock´s original )
” Cactais / Tráthnóna fomhair / Leamh, gan snua . ”
How whittle ? – Mmmm. Best lick , lambent, lovely vowels and fricative glides , melismatic stunts, mini-motivic carpentry, melismatic shavings. Brevity with those breves. Easy now, wood-polish, shape-shifters !
Yes, gleam, shape-glides.

ADD TO CART NEW WORK ( AND WORKS ) IN THESE RECENT YEARS :

NINE PRATOLEVA PEARLS 2008 Piano Solo ca. 8´.

SONGS OF TERROR AND LOVE 2010 Bass Voice plus “Pierrot Lunaire” quintet- lineup ca. 12.30´

EIGHT HAIKUS 2010 Choir SS AA TT BB ca. 9´.

CLARINET QUINTET ( RTE Commission 2009 ) Clar. plus String-Quartet ´ ca. 16´

4 ORCHESTRAL PRAYERS = 4 Orchestral Lieder 2009 mezzosop. and Órch. ca.16

QUASI UNA FUGA Revised Version 2009 Full Orchestra of Strings ca. 10

VIOLIN CONCERTO 2009 Violin and Orchestra ca. 17´

QUASI UN PRELUDIO 2008 Solo Violin ca. 2.30´´

QUASI UNA SARABANDA 2008 Cl. Hn. Bassoon, StringQuintet ca. 11´

QUASI UN BASSO 2008 Piano and D.Bass ( A,D,G,C tuning ) ca. 4´

QUICK ! HUSH ! WHIST ! TOST !

New work stirs in 2010. Might be cellistic. Lyric. Lied also ? Leid, too ?
Man flicks, God flunks, kind-of-thing….wdr 3 / Hörproben – but WHICH year, Frank Corcoran, WHICH ? got it right , Aha ! 3,3,2000 with Dr. Michael Trapp, as it so happened. He reviewed FRANK CORCORAN “Sinfonien Nr. 2, 3 und 4. ” Marco Polo 8.225107 ( LC 9158 ) . He praised. He writhed : ” Die warten auf ihren Bartók ” . And : ” Corcoran ist einer der wichtigsten zeitgenössischen irischen Komponisten”. Certainly. He loved my : ” The birth of music was always accompanied by ritual murder! My Fourth Symphony is my dolmen, a grave-monument in stone. Yet again, these tones from my Third pursue me. 1996 was a very hard year for my torturers, tones D and C Sharp. Yes, Orphic tones my oboes at my beginning. Yes, ritual violence, vain control. Yes, my story in tones of Cage and Aristotle, a logic in my chaos. “

AND THEN THERE WAS SUFFERING: DON´T FORGET THE DOUBLE ” F” . EVER !

QUASI UN LAMENTO by Frank Corcoran ( March 8, 2005, National Symphony Orchestra of Ireland premiere. National Concert Hall.
If Orpheus had had three saxophones , he, too, would have availed of their power to bleat, to mourn. Or an accordeon…. still, it´s important to get rid of the mere bleat, the tune the ould cor died on. Certainly. Music can lament. But we get rid of the merely autobiographical. Better. Much. Bewail not so much “Dies Irae ” as the passing of that very time of which music is, cough, made. What has this to do with the Agnus dei of the “MASS OF TOURNAI” ? – I´m sure I don´t know. I´m not sure. In the Vasari Corridor of the Uffizzi in Florence is a fine Roman copy of the original Greek ( – what did that copyist think ? The original greek sculptor ? The flayer ? ) “Marsyas Being Flayed Alive” where divine-great, yet mean bastardo string-player Apollo takes his AWFUL revenge on Marsyas, innocent oboist . Marsyas´s bound torso is bursting with pain, with suffering, with mourning. My one-movement QUASI UN LAMENTO also. Its orchestra screams, moans; the seven wind easily overpower a puny string-quartet ; percussion and piano add violence, savagery. The accordeon at the close whimpers a rising ” Kyrie ” from “MY” Requiem Mass, those five notes ( Doh, Re, Mi, Fa, Mi ) which created Western music.

THERE WAS A SEQUEL, CERTAINLY. ACTUALLY I WAS QUITE TIRED

The Boston Phoenix . Nov. 11 – 17 , 2005.
“Stranger In Paradise” by Lloyd Schwarz : MUSICA VIVA .

” The hit of Boston Musica Viva´s “Boston Celtics” …. In “Mad Sweeney” which was getting its American premiere, Irish composer Frank Corcoran´s wild-man recitation from Heaney´s English rendering of the medieval irish tale about …. All the playing , under Richard Pittman, was spectacular. “

TIDYING UP VINTAGE WINE-CORKS

June 1. 2001 ” Komponistenportrait Frank Corcoran ” it was , I remember that warm South German headiness, at the Staatliche Hochschule für Musik und Darstellende Kunst Mannheim ( literally ” presentational art” , I suppose ) . Mannheim´s streets are geometrically gridded; odd, that. In dark and ferrety wine-houses lie – in wait, certainly- dark visages wishing to restore that fine Baden-Würtemmberg lineage, Gawd bless us. I remember that I spoke about my First Symphony, ” SYMPHONIES OF SYMPHONIES OF WIND”, which ( – I was the first ever Irish composer, yes, to have his First Symphony premiered in Vienna Of Dem Saints ) Lothar Zagrosek premiered with the O.R.F.Symphony Orchestra in Vienna, Mozartstadt, in now far-off and belting-receding 1981 .