Frank Corcoran

irish composer


13. January 2007 Frank Corcoran´s commissioned two-hour
“Höranalyse” of Schubert´s Great C-Major Symphony broadcast by N.D.R. for the first time.


In einer eMail vom 02.11.2006 11:14:09 Westeuropãische Normalzeit schreibt FBCorcoran:

We jerky little kids swung our then little limbs over that then little style ( – Donnelly´s sawn-off instrument had successfully shot my priestly vocation to tatters. ), that escape-path from our ´Aras Mór leading to a hole-in-the-wall, our walk or you push de flat bipeds toward angelic Sister Augustine and walk tall Sister Senan and their mountainy Hidden Object of Tabernacular Adoratio, wasn´t it Big Mister ´Eamonn Mór Dé .

I am past ” forgiving ” ? – No, dope, my PIANO TRIO of your 1977 was our Cúchullanistik. No, years later I did have to FEEL that ASSYMETRIC grey – plus – Brahms piano-interior .Yes, forgive Hugh Donnelly´s shotgun´s sawn-off sound ? Yes, forgive my tattered vocation? Forgive also, up at our styles, a child´s thrust towards fulfilling the hero´s crazy project? Forgive the Tabernacle and all who can´t forgive themselves? We were jerky, all so little, help us in out of the forlorn cold . It was dire. Not a piano-trio as yet in my childish imagination, it was the sound of sawn-off thunder. How could they let us loose beyond the limits of the style in the wall ? I know my little limbs were blue with cold, how about yours in cold Áras Mór ? Smell the explosion , hark to our thousand awakened rooks yelling blue murder under a leaden night-sky ; I was no match for the Cúchullans above at the square where never a drop of Vesevo White soccoured our parents ; no glass and a half ´d stop blue child-abuse, though Áras Mór featured lead-pipes and lead roof-lining, had included once Thomas Mann´s red wines ( after all, his own Lübecker Rotspon evening-glass did look the other way as his childer turned all blue ).

I hardly knew my young body´s lower half in our ´Aras Mór cold mansion of a Saturday Night Is Bath-Night. Nor did ever actually see the white wine” Vesevo”, our Celto-Hanseatic snobs´ ” Sannio Falanghina” . Nor could my Setanta´s hurley-stick ever hope to open a Thomas Mann bottle of ” Vin Pays d´Oc” ( – apparently it used to arrive as his own red ” Rotspon von Lübeck” , imagine! ) . But could I shriek for us five children at the style, for our rooks and our parents´ ” Heal Yerselves, Mites, Ye´ll Have To ” throughout that long October forbidden night of the shotgun? Could I?

Ask not now from which Lübeck wine-cask Immanuel Kant smelled our twisted wood . Even I still smell my very own private child-abuse, our milking, his honey. Indeed, his milking of my honey. Not a bottle of Tipperary Red Rotsporn was found aboard the rubber raft for the five orphans. Sing, Thomas Mann´s desolate, blue-white children, my old favourite, how well we know that Lied “HOW SWEETLY WE SHIVER NOW” . What bliss at whose cool pianoforte for blue-cold little, precious witnesses ? Want little, waste little. Whinge little, for ye shall not be heard.


In einer eMail vom 15.10.2006 12:22:37 Westeuropãische Normalzeit schreibt FBCorcoran:

Now I’ll paste in mother, she’ll be next to her Casey sisters and cousins, her school-class photo about level, as in life, with our Dad’s caubeen in his very own photo.

Who is looking at who is what these two images (bundled phota are best) are asking me down from this Wailing Wall; in which time are these imputed glances ‘‘taking place’’, is what I should be exploring in my hunkered position.

To live your life is not as easy as to be plastering the builders’ wet-room, gleam, angle, shadows or light, its line and circle, de- and in- and excisions.

I’ll be taking next the ontology of the musical work, take Lutoslawski’s Livres Pour Orchestre of 1968, premiered in Hamburg, was it? No, Hagen; wrong, Warszawa. Wrong again. I veer away from the slippery slope ( – this wet-room is quite new) of the Polish composer’s question for whom his Chapters and his still wonderfully fresh, still very tricky, polyvalent Interludes will sound now as they swirl around the few corners the builders did leave me? Who owns? Neither hath Casey ear heard, nor Corcoran eye seen what this grand orchestral wash announces: – yes, it is sweet and it is proper to construct my wet wash-room, to work in Horace’s brass, no surrender, non serviam, no sir, it wasn’t me, sir, ask Lizz Casey, sir, bold as brass, sir . (How they cower in their lowly school snap-shot). Yes, erect wet washroom, yes, write Lutoslawski’s Sound-Pages, yes, sounding brass a sonorous Book of Life. Whose, Horace? Ah, Horatius, ’tis countless, unsung lives of Irish slaves, their being temporal, their time silent, still, unsung.

We know not the wet-rooms of our future. The past is mine, sayeth Horace. Build ye, bold as brass. Wipe down the streaming walls of orchestral wash, Lutoslawski’s great monument. Wrap sound in little Interludes between his mighty Chapters, short, tiny verses for clarinets and vibraphone and low harp-patter, piano-dabs before the big stuff gets sounding. In that photograph the air is dead, no sound. So how? Yet, the Horatian thrust to build a monument, try any class of a gazebo, even a metaphor, a wet-room extended, Mr. L’s final orchestral Chapter wrapping up all minor wind- or string-glissandi-arguments, it seems basically normal in our species, keep cool, poet, a basically decent and reasoned thing to be at, whether it’s photographing mother’s little grey school-class of 1927 or pasting his photoéd caubeen’s phota up on my father’s son’s faintly wet Italian walls.

I am very wrong, nonsense arrant and sheer. The Roman poet (I have late, too late cribrated and post-cribrated) needed neither wet-room nor Irish slave’s hunkered position as he sounded our challenge to the vermiculation which our being-in-time is heir to : ‘‘those who can, make!’’ – G’wan! In spite of every slave’s daily, holy fight against The Hole. So who is looking at who on my Wet, Wailing Wall? What precisely are they wailing about? Did they save the dam? Kept the march-music going? Were born, they saw what glory? More snare-drum ’n bugles music than Lutoslawski’s strange harp ’n vibraphone subtleties, I ask myself in this by now uncomfortable, contorted position.

(We don’t normally number Horace among the Stoics. Still… ) Perhaps my pasting parental photos up on a still damp wall there does belong also to Horatian aesthetics: carpe photon et photas, picturas de gloriosa miseria humani generis, oaf, yes, and orchestral tutti. Final whimper or final yell. Depending on your line of vision as light falls on my builders’ slapped-up result. You never hunkered in your Soracte wet-room, poet; but your: ‘‘Son, artist, keep de faith’’ could be Old Roman wind, little foreseeable win. Hunkered you are asking hunkered me to take a Pascalian leap, a wet-room risk? Far into the future, you insist, brays, blares my brass-music and we famously programmed to palliate our plight with your home-baked beans mprogramme, classical smartie-poet. This tone-poet. Or his wet-room builders. Or my parents’ phota fixed in two washy photos pasted on my washed, Wailing Wall. What’s now fixed is fixed more (or less?) for ever, will beat Time and the River, the Hole, the Dam, is that what you’re oraculating to me, Horry? Hurray for the sweet and for the decorous, to die for a wet-room, for my orchestral gazebo, a sounding ziggurat, tormented gong, clarinets and marimba and piano and the harp that once. ‘‘Horatian’’ is not ‘‘horrible’’, seldom
‘‘horrid’’. Yet, horrific oracle, orientate this orphan’s orison; the wet wind is blowing through my cell. What Greater-Than-Horace conceived the whole plot? – Did Horry mean ‘‘Fame is a meat that dead men eat’’? – Why didn’t Horsey pen, then: ‘‘Get it / While you can!’’? How shall all manner of things be well?

Corcoran on Lyric F.M.

Sunday , Oct. 1 2006. Lyric Fm 20.50
Frank Corcoran speaks directly from Hamburg, introducing 3 key works from his slightly special 2006 Composers´Choice CD from Berlin, ‘‘Quasi Una Musica- Frank Corcoran’’:
‘‘QUASI UNA VISIONE’’ (2005 RTÉ commission for Ensemble Modern / Sian Edwards )
‘‘VARIATIONS ON A Mháirín De Bharra’’ for Viola Solo (2004 Lyric Fm commission) and
‘‘ 9 ASPECTS OF AN IRISH POEM’’ for Solo Violin and Choir (2004 National Chamber Choir / Catherine Leonard / Celso Antunes. It staggers…. )

Sunday, Oct. 1st, Lyric FM (Ireland) feature my new work and voice on ‘‘Nova’’


In einer eMail vom 24.09.2006 08:03:28 Westeuropãische Normalzeit schreibt FBCorcoran:

This scanning of all my Caseys’ 1927
National School Calendar
endears Alto Lazio of the Popes to
which of their cooler shades ? They
hadn’t a chance, Lord and Lady of All
Aeons, not a penny in his pocket
for little dote Uncle John’s future
tracheotomy ( -yet it’s pre-shadowed
in the hunkered smile; perhaps;
mother is back near the aunties, went
for the second-last row, perhaps her
chance of a worry-free year. )
Contrast this sunny bright Mystical
Garden of Roman medlars, peaches,
wild strawberries, thyme, mint and
onion, cress, capers, vipers’ ivy and
plum and oregano , my green-gold
Mystical Body , with what Protestant

Lugging a green chair from tree to
knell-shadow to olive-hollow in this
very hot July, I mulled over the young
shades of 1927 ; why were ye?
August roasting after the early
morning -hours; in the evening you’d
sob the georgic tears of things, wield
the implacable clippers –
ivy always conceals a serpent’s tooth.
The lake, of course. – Gadaffy’s
North African light and Leitrim
melancholy, take your pick, cleanest
volcanic lake in Italy , it’s deep out
beyond Bisanzio . Did those brown
Casey children ever whinge ? I dare
carpe this diem, a lounging body
under is it an elm, now it’s become a
lovely September morning ? Onions
and garlic were out for those lads.
What the farmer don’t ken, the 1927
childer surely won’t.

Suppose I focus on mother and poor
Uncle John ( ” his trachea all ended ” ),
brown-shaded photographic sisters,

my living dead; suppose they’d
harvest this beautiful crop – my vines

bested, stragglers towards a Spïtlese?

How would beautiful God’s
mud-daughters enjoy?

Lug down from the formal garden to
Garden Number Two where it’s
cooler and wilder. Fuse
their photograph with Virgil’s in his
“Georgics”, his own shining Roman
gurney. How snorts our spinosa
( it’s three in the morning for him!), as
he dares gouge out Lazio spuds ? It is
here if anywhere that I’ll meet
these child-shadows. Their September

” I HATE the sun” is hardly his
jist, St. Patrick’s breast-plate.
Apparently you let your normal snake
go.There IS , mind you, water in
plenty. How those photographed
mites prayed the rain-psalms and ate
their salad salty. Uncle John’s cut
throat fell across the swell of
mother’s door , we’re talking of his
future, mind, far distant
still from that brown- lit 1927 pic.
Hands up, muddy childer. Thyme
and oregano heal. You’ll slap a
half-onion on the twin red pricks.
Keep it in, in under the cool dappled
Georgics: They had their kids’ joys,
their hunkered sorrow not noticed.
Clip, clip merciless with ivy. The
depressed thirties, you could argue,
mud-potatoes , not sun-dappled
apples . Or what if the Lower Garden
has landscaped railway-sleepers and
terr -cotta tiles. Hornets kill wasps
killing flies eating a lovely
garden’s yesterdays. Scan that
school-children’s group-photo
again, my grave family, their muddy
melody, his torn throat , mother’s
worried eyes. Share a pear
across seventy four
years. Stroke our garden cat, all
his oneness with 2006?

Do you remember? ‘Twas
auld September ? By the light of our
teacher’s camera? Plant us, bury us in
Upper Paradiso? ( – Apparently God
is light in the locals’ theology. )
Hauld all Lazio horses! The
November olive-harvest is as
brown as mother’s and Uncle
John’s potatoe-harvest. No cat will
ever bite ye, neither now nor never,
where dead children huddle and
quiver in ecstasy, whistling “We dare
to enjoy, Lazio” .

Between mother up at the back
and little Uncle John’s future
tracheatomy, where’s the viper gone?
Marry mud and medlar.

The Light Gleams

Sept. 3. saw the 3rd. performance of my Dept. of the Arts 2006 commission for the Samuel Beckett Centenary commission, ‘‘The Light Gleams’’ by the Concorde Ensemble at the National Gallery, Dublin. This composition will appear on C.M.C.’s ‘‘CD Contemporary Music from Ireland 6.’’ out shortly this October.

So listen to what…

August 2006

In einer eMail vom 19.08.2006 17:47:45
Westeuropãische Normalzeit schreibt FBCorcoran:

So listen to what

‘‘I’m’’etching to

‘‘you’’ now.
She ( – loined, strangely

enough, no inverted

commas): ‘‘I see
you’ve a concert with

Radio Lilliput. Next

winter. Great!’’
piped up: ‘‘I’ll enjoy.
Good! It happened.
Good. Does it, ‘‘I’’
wonder still, make ‘‘my ’’
‘‘Cantata de Vacuo Nero
for Solo Violin
and Radio Choir’’ better or

She’d long wanted to
etch these hieroglyphs:
‘‘was’’ and
(That last time
it made not a difference;
my ‘‘my’’ querulous
and ‘‘our’’ loins, etch
this, apparent.)

She who’ll be correcting
this, ‘‘my’’ shifty chance
for ‘‘me’’ to be
writing ‘‘me’’ free, will,
take your rat–poison, not
waste an etched instant
on the Inverted Commas
Factor. So listen.

I am, after all, he who
writes: ‘‘this’’
= ‘‘he’’ .

So listen: who’s this
‘‘he’’ who writes:
=‘‘he ’’or who’s the
he who sculpts ‘‘= ’’,
and so wearily on
forth till at least at this
end of ‘‘our ’’ Crazy
Loop a summery ‘‘he’’
wrestles free of ‘‘his’’
worrying reflexivity,
near the summer’s loony

So listen: give it a chance,
will ‘‘I ’’? (Who?)
Meant is: ‘‘My lovely
inverted commas’’. Yes,
‘‘they’’ ( – see? And
there ‘‘we’’ go again…)
do all sculpt, all etch, all
define ‘‘my ’’
‘‘me’’, i.e.
this little class of one, so
small a miracle, oh so
temporal and ah
so near the void, ‘‘my’’
airy melody, the nea for
my very ‘‘self’’, for
‘‘my ’’close shave.

So listen, so hone, so
handle it as a piece of
sports-results, as “you”
would a stock-exchange
item. Listen, there will
be one or two obituaries
– The Observer still has a
bit of seriousness…
” It ” is sad, yes. Death
“is” sad. Very, “our”
glowering, crouching
friend, Mrs. Nothing.
( – don�t be surprised if
someone�s favourite
philosopher wrote :
” Das Nichts nichtet ” …

But in the kitchen Frau
Heidegger went on with
“her” washing-up. At
that hour when all good
wolves yet sleep. )