Frank Corcoran

irish composer


After I was killed in Iraq last year, I dreamed that I heard that drake quacking once again at the castle-moat.
” What a social surd it´s been, quaak, my last quarter of a century earning a duck-family´s crud. How finely unartistic and unmusical my fine crust-earning conservatoire years; all for my drakes, the ducks; ´twas a social desert, ´twas, an inter-draked dump; the house lacked any normal duck-love in its foyer, yeah, quack, we had yellow-eyed envy in the arty-farty toilets . The shadow of 1945 was cast still over our Duck-President´s music-office . What a fitting successor to the Gestapo torture-chambers ( where they had turned the musical screw in that corner ) was our Duckschule´s professors´ aviary lunch-cum-pissoir corner which I had to frequent in them dark quack-eighties. It was a very casino musicale with all poultry birds´ feathers feathering all musical nests, all vanities and inanities and major-minor turds and performing eejits and composing midgets and duck theorists. No defence, drakes, for such an architectural,atonal, acoustic and aesthetic monstrosity. Yes, a hide-out for Moovietone civil servants of sounding necrophilia. Quick! Quack! Quake! Slake!”
He paddled. He dived! I could hardly believe this splatted castle-moat bilge that drake was moaning out in his filthy moat-water. Slaking his beak he dropped silvery droplets, his water-tones. He drearily draked on:
” So I waddles shyly in to just no waiting reception-committee, – Hey! ” collegiality” is not a duck-word. So I stumbles over the President´s threshold as he was sticking on his most drakish smile . ” I´m sorry, Herr Guest Drake, but I can´t help you out at all with your unfortunate case of Herr Crutch´s Phelt!” sez he.
So I was out at sea on the holy moat-water for the best part of the next twenty five years. Prof. Crutch´s Phelt, get this, had wanted my professorial drake´s chair for his then unmusical mistress ; her professorial appointment , mine had obviously blocked hers, would have halved the distance ( it was snickered ) from her class-room to his feather bed-room. See? So in retaliation Crutch´s Phelt syphons off all compositional young hope from my teaching-load for the rest of his crutch´s phelty reign at our High Duck-Shed. And to this day he, too, uses our professors´ eat-corner-cum- pissoir. So it was only then it slowly dawned on this drake, ducks, and hen-eggs : what I treated of in class was of not the slightest interest to that arch-drake nor to the ducklings´s doctorates ; it was only my teaching load at Crutch´s Phelp Musictone-University that was quantifiable. Which was all that mattered. Quick! Quake! Quack, pay any lip-service to reforming that irrelevant dodo of a Hogs Skool? Yes, there was simply no Disney interest in the pitiable hog-wash we´d dish up to dem young, suffering ducklets .
No colleagues greeted – Disneys don´t do greeting, we do not web-shake. Our Good Chief Duck Architect had wetted his paddle-feet; he made sure that this wasn´t ever, ever, ever going to grow into a real Hochschule; eg. he forgot to plan for it, so we had no drakes´corner where you´d ever have a human intercourse. Let not duckish humanity soften a High Hog Skool´s Rule of the knife or be knifed for their high table. Do not tink tunes! No sing! No quacked doodle! Quick! We have not a second! Clock up de dying hours! Flap! Quaak! Thus did I, drake, see my drake-decades crawl till I´d be finally pensioning off the water of this castle-moat from both my webbed feet, I swear to Great Poultry . Meanwhile some colleagues, a few loving drakes died ; but some were replaced by Quack Again!”
His moated drakespeak had ended on, for a musician of sorts, his flat note. Sour or surly. I risked a parting : ” But surely there was something, anything at all, golden in your twenty five years at the Ducks´Shed? You mean to say you learned nothing? From musical youth ? From young lovely ducks?” But he had already dived . The dark-green moat closed over his brown drake-backside, leaving an unpleasantly grey smudge on the castle-waters. So I went beck to being dead after my own Iraq service….

November 23 2008. Sorry, it´s December 11 next at the Festival Mondain in Bucharest, then December 13 in Kluj, premier by Duo Moderno of my ” Quasi Un Duo” for doublebass and piano.


22 February 2009 North German Radio Choir in das neue werk Festival: German premiere of Frank

Corcoran´s ” 9 ASPECTS OF AN IRISH POEM” for Violin and Large Choir.

23 August 2008 Futura Festival, Crest, France : French premiere of ” QUASI UNA MISSA” ( 1999

W.D.R. commission. 2002 Swedish E.M.S. Prize ) .


Dec. 8 2008 Meridian Festival, Bukarest : Basso Moderno premieres my new “Quasi Una Perla”. Thus:

A last alone the

Long day writhing into night

Moon-shine is my love

René Magritte was

Off on his French hobby-horse:

“I am NOT my pipe!”

Age-old Greek river,

Was unwashed Heraklitus

Ever smelled again?


In 1987 I pared the quill and wrote: ” Two Hardy Referentialists And The Debate On Expression In
Music”. ( International Review Of The Aesthetics And Sociology Of Music IRASM 18, 2, 237 – 245 )

In this bee-loud glade

My nine and fifty plum-trees

They and I blooming


May 7. Lyric Fm broadcasts my ” QUASI UNA FUGA” with the Irish Chamber Orchestra/ Anthony

May 10. for Johannes Brahms 175th. birthday , North German Radio commissions Frank Corcoran two
hours radiophonic analysis of Brahms´ Fourth Symphony.
May 10. NDR broadcasts my Fourth Symphony ( National Symphony Orchestra / Colman Pearce ) .
May 10. I complete new ” QUASI UNA PERLA” for the Washington-based Basso Moderno ( piano and
double-bass ) .


My silver syringe

Sucks out dark blood for vipers

Poison for poison

In the high temple

Hunger for tea-cake, flowers,

Mountain marmalade

Up on one long leg

Long Mary sights her own beak

Water reflected

In its Milky Way

Glides and flexes and ripples

Our Solar System

Season of mellow

Yellow fruit; ripeness is all

Too tired to die

Their great flaps empty

The whirring wings are circling

Empty this goose gyre


Autumn´s light a bit burnished

The grass a bit burned

I stirred not before

That entire rice-field was sown

A willow witnessed

Will not one singing

Beetle or bee make him blush ?

Poor Palestrina


April 19 2008 Hüllm Cultural Centre

David Stromberg plays” Ice-Etchings” for solo cello.

July 1 2008 The Warehouse, London

Fidelio Trio gives the first London performance of my seventies” Break-Through” Piano Trio (1978 )