Frank Corcoran

irish composer


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 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.


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´


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. “


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.


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. “


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 .

MARCH 27 2010 – a date ” molto speciale “. Why ?

N.D.R.3 Kultur broadcasts on Prisma – Musik Frank Corcoran´s
radiophonic “analysis” of Beethoven´s EROICA . Why revisit his 3. Symphony ? Why heroic ? Why heroic Beethoven ? What is heroic ? In music ? Who is the lucky hero ? Why ?
Also on NDR 3. Kultur that balmy Spring evening is Frank Corcoran´s FOUR ORCHESTRAL PRAYERS , his 4 Orchesterlieder ( to texts by Erigena, Henry Lyte, Anon – Corcoran, Meister Eckhart – a heady brew, si, – ) with the Irish national Symphony orchestra / Colman Pearce , Mezzosoprano: Chloe Hinton ( January 19 2010, National Concert Hall Dublin ).

NDR 3 KULTUR broadcast on January 16, as it happened, Frank Corcoran´s again radiophonic Hear-Analysis ( – no, it doesn´t quite work in English. No ) of Mozart´s C – Minor Piano Concerto K.V. 491.

This is almost 2 years after EUROPEAN CONNECTIONS IRELAND / SLOVENIA ( Dublin and Ljubjana ) . Concorde Ensemble for New Music performed ( in Dublin City Gallery : The Hugh Lane andat the UNICUM International Contemporary Music Festival , Slovenia the Concorde commission: Frank Corcoran ” The Light Gleams” for the Beckett Centenary Festival 2008 )


Yes, University College Dublin 150 Year Celebration…. Wow !
Yes, I did ” learn ” to write Bachian ( ? ) Fugue with Professor Anthony Hughes of University College Dublin , 1967 to 1969.
Has my ( recent ) composing of ” my ” ” QUASI UNA FUGA” for ( in its original 2007 version ) the 18 strings of the Irish Chamber Orchestra / Anthony Marwood Conductor – 2007 Shannon Festival, Limerick Cathedral and its 2010 revised version for Full Orchestra ( – Frank Corcoran ” Horizons” Concert of January 19 2010 with the National Irish Symphony Orchestra , Conductor: Colman Pearce come from that hate / love ? Has it ?

Again, what future works of mine have sprung from that legendary premiere of my ” MUSIC FOR THE BOOK OF KELLS ” for 5 Percussionists And An Irish Pianist with The University of Wisconsin / Milwaukee under the baton of Professor Pavel Burda, the first and best of all performances of this composition to date ?