Frank Corcoran

irish composer

Would I Were In Happy Hamburg – Tralala ! La ! La !

Ham ? / also : Hamph- who´hee who´hee ? !
Let that bad fart / Fart far from me. Fahrt far from my Aussenalster. Mediocre , mediocre, mediocre, medio- cr- e. Hamburg Music Academy, ” Hamburg Music Academy”, weep for all bad farts. For wind music. For all our Fart Serenades.
“Hamel” = “URIAH HEEP ” . Wheep . Heap.

In Snowy / Snowish Hamburg = Dublin It Gets Worse ?

1982 I was weak on all three hooves. Heinz-Klaus Metzger yelled ( – in Stuttgart of all cool ( ! ) places ) : ” Frank Corcoran! Say something about Theodore Adorno´s musical compositions ! Now! Otherwise I´ll yell again! May I scream ? John Cage ? ? ” – actually, no, he wasn´t so polite. I put that in…. It was, ja, desperate. Very very. There was no time for subtelty. At all. Oh shadow of AIMHIRGÍN let us for mythic sake grope for a glass . Sake deep- Alhambra . Myne “FOUR ORCHESTRAL PRAYERS” for Mezzosoprano and Orchestra , premiere January 19, 2010, National Symphony Orchestra of Ireland / RTÉ Performing Groups, yelp, ” are ” ” Kised ” by Heinrich Schütz, no mean Italiano kerne.


” He is going blind

The phone was dead this Christmas….

Bach´s organ very still ”

kind of thing to be writing with trembly ink and the moat-water ducks rescuing their webbed winter -feet from sneaky death by frozen flip-flops.
Any the wiser, any the sicker, the more pained, fascinated, ecstatic than a very full biographed year back , well ?
Does so much anti-freeze behove ? Apparently there isn´t a plural for ” Haiku” . Paddle on, cold fowl, in our castle park`s snow-dampened acoustic. Who is, after all, to measure, after all, our progress, after all ? Do not throw the first snow-ball. Nor the second, all those who live in an igloo. Irish Writing is alive and secreting well in such temperatures before attempting any Ode On the Morn Of Christ´s Nativity, Part the Second.
The new EIGHT HAIKUS , this October well crafted. First of all I mean the texts, ” My young love, Buddha” etc., and all the “u”s and ” o” s and good plosives and autumnal sibilants and wintry labials. The double-choir ( well, not entirely; not at all, in fact – they are less cori spezzati that eight real voices of shading and brilliant light and the odd solo singer pitted against tutti kind-of-polyphonics. I l am delighted with the chordal ” Deep-purple twilight / In the bay lie three islands….”
Last Christmas would I have been able thus to set, I wonder, that throwaway ” Asleep like children ” ? Or take the last haiku, symphonically flash-backing ? Would I, ducks ?
This summer´s “SONGS OF TERROR AND LOVE” I had long longed to compose; looking back , I do see that I had to trap the bottled-up fury and high anger and ecstatic dancing of Jacopone, the chained feet clanking and clinking their holy dance-music in his papal latrine/prison . I did hammer a vocal/instrumental fine job on ” O Papa Bonifazio”, a holy scream really.
The beginning of April was still cold in Old Lazio as I began the Clarinet Quintet, an R.T.E. commission for the Vanbrugh String Quartet in 2010. That dark chalumeau music for solo clarinet which I have opening the slow movement and a Central Italian Spring getting unforgettably going.
So, yes, three strong 2009 compositions. Good. Good and lonely, four seasons below and then up here with the safe ducks and not yet quite saved winter-geese. No bad thing our nip of cold after the solar largesse down below , I must say. Plus little things like our snake-story; our trembly-powerful or thermonuclear-watery sunsets. Our first autumn lightening. Grateful to who , ducklings? A progress in the writing, the grain or quantity or perceptible ” Late Style”, is it perceptible from this metereological stand-point? How define this stand-point? This duck or duck-egg vantage-point? Where best start to top the egg ? eg. Music as considered sculpture or as ecstatic rush ? When the thaw comes ? How set my Second Christmas Haiku:
“I´ve got Parkinson´s…. ”
His organist´s white knuckles

Cran in blue snow-clouds .

Myth is with us, and not just in this mellow season of starving robins and white drifting ugly ducklings. Could life have bifurcated differently ( – sure it could ) ? The other musical roads not taken – a Cello Concerto, my yellowing “Gilgamesh” opera-score ? Oh come , all ye faithful and triumphantly cran ” The Wran, the wran ,” and want for nothing. So there is no snow really there at all excepted when it is being perceived as real ? How keep my feeble flame alive in the cold ? ” My young love, Buddha, / Came to us softly sleeping / And his sap rising” is all very well ; you have to be tough . Save a little ecstasy , would you, for critical January.


January 19. 2010. National Concert Hall. 13.00

“Horizons” Concert with the National Symphony Orchestra , Naomi O´Connell soprano, Conductor : Colman Pearce.

Featured composer : Frank Corcoran

Frank Corcoran: FOUR PRAYERS for Mezzosoprano and Orchestra . ( World-premiere )

In these four orchestral lieder, the orchestra accompanies the singer; it “sets” and sings and carries and colours the texts and, yes, prays them. ( Music has from the beginning had its role in the Eleusinian mysteries and, much earlier, in Old Babylon and Egypt ) .
Lied One fuses John Scotus Eriugena´s staggering God – text, ” Deus est. Non est. Superest.” – ” God is. God is not. God is beyond ” IS” ” ) with the Irish saying, “Aithníonn súil liath saol liath” ( ” It is a grey eye which sees the world as grey”. ) . Strings and wood-winds sing with the soprano-line; percussion washes it.

Lied Two treats Henry Lyte´s traditional Victorian hymn, ” Abide with me “. ( It was this melody the band played over and over as the great ship “Titanic” sank to its icy Atlantic grave…. ) . What once might have been saccharine has become steel. Its intervals buckle and are chromatically crushed until, at the end, brake-drums and brass are also shrieking the singer´s “Abide!”

Lied Three sets an amazing, anonymous two-liner which I found over the Neo-Classical lintel of a Hamburg 18th. c. villa. I use the German : ” Wir bauen hier so feste / Und sind doch fremde Gäste! Und wo wir sollen ewig sein /
bauen wir so wenig ein!” – in my English it goes : ” We´re building here so free / Our jolly building-spree ! But where we should endure , there we´re so unsure!” with the Pauline: ” We´ve here no lasting city ! We build and build like mad – a pity ! ” which become a breathless, sardonic and bitter vocal Scherzo.

Lied Four composes Meister Eckhart´s ecstatic God – text . With its prelude , interludes and postlude of massed , muted brass it aims for the final rapt ” Ewig, ” ( “Eternal” ) with deep pulsing harp, celesta and crotales.

Frank Corcoran. QUASI UNA FUGA . World-premiere of this revised version ( 2009 ) for full orchestra .

This is in no way a neo-Baroque or neo-Bach one-movement work. It is and it is not a fugue for 56 strings. It is ” quasi” a fugue; the ascending “soggetto” is there, also its accompanying counter-subject . All is counterpoint ; everything is built out of the interval of the second . Fragments and smidiríní of the “theme” ( really a major-minor 12-tone scale, nothing more…. ) are heard in hundreds of bits and pieces until at the end it all morphs into the Early Celtic chant, ” Ibunt Sancti”. Was this the hymn which St. Brendan The Navigator and his twelve merry monks sang before having dinner on the broad back of an Atlantic whale somewhere up there near Greenland, around the year 550 or so …. ?

NOVELETTE for Full Orchestra . Witold Lutoslawski ( 1978 -79 )

Fifteen times the mighty opening chord yells, announcing the five short movements of this orchestral narrative. The Polish master calls them simply ” Announcement, First Event, Second Event, Third Event” and the accumulative ” Conclusion”. His orchestral palette is , as always full of the most beautiful and refined instrumental colours.

( Composer´s Notes )

2009 Is Trying To Close. 2010 Sidles Up Leery

I do look forward to my January 19 2010 “Horizons” Dublin Concert with the National Symphony Orchestra and two premieres; but also to the RTE Clarinet Quintet premiere with the Vanbrugh String Quartet; also to the National Chamber Choir´s premiering my own ” 8 Haikus ” text. Then there´s the New York premiere of new ” SONGS OF TERROR AND LOVE”. And to the N.D.R. radiophonic analysis I do of Mozart´s very disturbing C – Minor PIANO CONCERTO K.V. 491.
Is this enough ? No. Certainly not.


January 19 2010 ” Horizons” Frank Corcoran Concert with great Colman Pearce / National Symphony Orchestra and Mezzosoprano Naomi O´Connell neareth. Along with the 2009 revised version for Full Orchestra of ” QUASI UNA FUGA” ( originally a 2007 commission of the Irish Chamber Orchestra, its sheen 18 Strings, we have the new FOUR ORCHESTRAL PRAYERS . Texts, yes, already here on Blog Nov. 29, 2005.


January 16 2010 . Frank corcoran´s radiophonic, two hour analysis of great Mozart´s great C Minor PIANO CONCERTO K.V. 491 for NDR Kultur, North German Radio´s 3rd. Programme. Then also Frank Corcoran´s ” QUASI UNA FUGA” for 18 Strings ( Irish Chamber Orchestra / Anthony Marwood . 2007 Limerick Cathedral , Irish Radio recording )


November 7. 2007 at the National Concert Hall Dublin ; Andreas Skouras
premiered ” NINE PRATOLEVA PEARLS” for Solo Piano ( 2008 ). Also

Jan. 19 2010 National Concert Hall Dublin. RTE ” Horizons” Concert with the National Symphony Orchestra / Colman Pearce, Mezzo Soprano Naomi O´Carroll : world-premiere of Frank Corcoran´s ” FOUR ORCHESTRAL PRAYERS” and ” QUASI UNA FUGA” ( rev. version for Full Orchestra. Also Lutoslawsky´s ” NOVELETTE” .


2010 World premiere of RTE Commission: ” CLARINET QUINTET ” Vanbrugh Quartet, Clarinet NN.
2010 world-premiere of new ” SONGS OF TERROR AND LOVE” to texts by Jacopone da Todi for Bass Voice and ” Pierrot Lunaire” Ensemble.

2010 ALSO A GOOD CHORAL YEAR : world-premiere of newest :

“EIGHT HAIKUS” for S.S.A.A.T.T.B.B. Choir . Texts by Frank Corcoran.