Frank Corcoran

irish composer


That’s right, Frank Corcoran used as music examples in his CICLO 1.

Grainne Yeats : “Faigh An Gleas ” ( ” Trova la chiave “)

“Tabhair Dom Do Lamh” ( “Da Mihi Manum ” )

The Chieftains: ” La Marcia di O’Neill ”

“Il Lamento per Limerick”

” A Una Bhain ” : ” La Bella Una”

Frank Corcoran ” The Quare Hawk ”

“Caleno Costure Me ” ( William Byrd )

“La Lavandaia Irlandese ( Johnny Doherty )


Grainne Yeats “Eibhlin A Ruin”.

Handel: Il Coro dell’ Halleluja

“An Speic Seodrach ” ( Willy Clancy )

Concerto di Carolan

“The Princess Royal” ( Carolan )

“Slan Le Ceol ” ”

“Ple’ara’cha” ( Sean O Riada )


“Tabhair Dom Do Lamh” ( Grainne Yeats )

“Ta an Oiche Dorcha” ( La Notte e’ scura )

“The Wounded Hussar ” ( Tony McMahon )

“Robin Adare ” ( Beethoven )

“Eileen A Ruin” II (Grainne Yeats )

“Lamento Per Glencoe ” Beethoven

Beethoven WoO 152.6

“Silent O Moyle ” Mary O’Hara

“Die Letzte Rose ” Flotow

Frank Corcoran: ritrattodell’artistadagiovanechevolevacantare


An Speich Seodach Willy Clancy

“Echoes Of Georgian Dublin”

Piano Concerto 1. John Field

Notturno ”

” A Una Bhain” 2.

“Finnegans Wake The Dubliners


I Giardini Zoologici ”

Concerto per Orchestra Frank Corcoran

“Ye Rambling Boys Of Pleasure ” Planxty

” Taller Than Roman Spears ” John Buckley

2. Quartetto d’ Archi John Kinsella

“Lamento per i Morti” Maire Ni Direain

Trio per Pianoforte, Violino e Violoncello FRANK CORCORAN


Songs of Terror and Love

Frank Corcoran ( 2010 )

1. Chi pro Cristo v’ empazzato / Pare afflitto e tribulato.
Chi pro Cristo ne’ va pazzo / Alla gente si par matto.
Chi vole entrare in questa danza / Trov’ amor désmesuranza!

2. Allegom’ en seppultura / Un ventr’i lupo envoratura.

E l’arliquie en cacatura / En espineta e rogarìa!

He who raves for Christ’s insane / Most afflicted, his great pain.
Who for Christ loses his mind / He looks lost to all mankind.
But he who begins this dancing / Measureless love he´s sure to find…
I chose as my last tomb and shroud / A wolf’s belly after he’s devoured
Me; my remains that wolf’s shit / In among thorns in a deep pit!

3. Che farai, Fra Jacovone? Ei venuto al paragone!

Well, what now, Fra Jacopone? Now you’re come to your trial!

The lodging that they gave me / ‘S a hole under ground – no denial

La presone che m’è data / Una casa sotterata!
Arèscece una privata / Non fa fraga de moscone!

Here a stinking jakes disgorges; it won´t smell of perfumed roses!
They placed my legs in leg-irons; now they rustle like sirens.

Porto jette i sparvèri / Soneglianno nel mio giro.
Nova danza ce po´ odire / Chi sta apresso mea stazzone.

Listen above! – Hear askance! Can you hear my new dance?


O Papa Bonifazio, molto ‘ai jocato al mundo.
Pensome che iocondo non te porrai partire…
Per subita ruina / Ei preso en tua masone!
E null’ om se trovone / A poterti guarire.

O Pope Bonifazio / With this world you played ”Peek Oh!”
Yet I judge that your dying / Will be more than mere sighing!
Your ruin has reached you / In your palace it breached you!
No doctor can heal you! No nurse dares to feel you!

El mondo non n’è cavallo / Che sse lass’ enfranare,
Che ‘l pòzzi cavalcare / Secondo tuo volere!

This world´s not a race-horse / To goad on with your spurs
To rein in at your whim / Till with your desire it concurs.

Dell’ aneme redente / Par che ne curi poco.
La ‘ve t’accunci ‘l loco / Saperai lo al partire!

– It’s not all souls’ salvation / It´s you´ve reaped your damnation.
At your parting, self-chosen / You will find out your destination!


Frank Corcoran writes from his Italian composer’s hide-out now, his Sacred Bunker :

1984 I wrote for NDR KULTUR Hamburg my big radio-analysis of Alban Berg’s 4 ALTENBERGER



Yes, young Berg’s for us still today gob-startling , – smacking Opus 4, his orchestral chuzpa , his flair and his, well, compositional impudence .
His courage, moral and musical, did of course upset Viennese apple-carts
( including his beloved teacher, Arnold Schoenberg… ). They are fresh today still with their dizzing daring; Berg’s high-trapeze soprano act with the text, those 5 aphorisms
by the Austrian, then scandalous, author , Peter Altenberg .
Berg risked all.
It was worth it.
Of course the vast orchestra is late Late-Romantic.
Of course he juggles twelve tones .
Of course his treatment of the melodic line and the orchestral forces bundles up all we heard from the outgoing Central European musical tradition…

What did I learn from young Alban Berg’s extraordinary score?

Extend my instrumental limits!
Make the twelve tones melodic, human, beautiful!
Keep up a young Irish composer’s COURAGE in a turgid sea of indifferent banalities,
idiots and vicious, ignorant commerce…


Suoni d’Irlanda

per Frank Corcoran a Orvieto e Bolsena

martedì 28 luglio 2015

Suoni d’Irlanda per Frank Corcoran a Orvieto e Bolsena

Due appuntamenti imperdibili per chi ama la musica classica e al contempo una grande occasione per celebrare uno dei

massimi compositori irlandesi viventi che da alcuni anni ha deciso di trascorrere gran parte dell’anno nella campagna

alle porte di Bagnoregio.

In onore di Frank Corcoran, nato a Tipperary nel 1944, tre solisti della National Symphony Orchestra of Ireland

(Martin Johnson, Adele Johnson, Fergal Caulfield) eseguiranno musiche di Schubert, Popper, Brahms e dello stesso

Corcoran in due date, la prima ad Orvieto, al Teatro Mancinelli venerdì 31 luglio alle ore 21:15.

La seconda a Bolsena, al Piccolo Teatro Cavour domenica 2 agosto alla stessa ora.

Ad entrambi i concerti, sarà presente il maestro Corcoran.


Rhapsodic Celli:

The Music of Frank Corcoran

CD Release June 2017 – Available for Review Now


Rhapsodic Celli

will be launched at The Hugh Lane Gallery Sundays@Noon concert, Parnell Square North, Dublin 1 on 4th June.

Soloist Martin Johnson explores Frank Corcoran’s writing for cello in all its nuances, from the swagger of a concerto and the rhapsodic polyphony of his work for eight cellos through to the composer’s arrangements of folk tunes for cello and piano informed by the rhythms of the Irish language.

Frank Corcoran has lived and taught in Germany for most of his professional life but has retained a profound connection with the literature and traditional music of his native country. The CD features his Cello Concerto, a rhapsody for cello octet and eight miniatures based on traditional tunes for cello and piano.

Corcoran’s Duetti Irlandesi for Cello and Piano pay homage to a distant musical ancestor, the master harper Floirint Ó Corcorain.
These traditional melodies would originally have been played on the Irish harp and the Composer says, “…have been haunting me since my rural childhood in Tipperary.
I had long been appalled by the settings of old Irish melodies attempted by Beethoven, Haydn, Britten, Harty and too many other well-meaning composers: their often saccharine harmonies, their rhythmic iron corsets or indeed the foursquare form too often adopted.”

Instead, Corcoran has incorporated the freer sean nós or old-style singing rhythms and grace notes into his classically informed settings of these tunes so they become “… historical miniatures of my vanished Ireland.

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The Ninth Annual

Trieste Joyce School

26 June – 2 July 2005

University of Trieste

Director: Professor Renzo S. Crivelli

Vice-Director: Dr John McCourt

Description of Events

The Ninth edition of the Trieste Joyce School will take place from 26 June to 2 July 2005. Following the tradition established in previous years, this year’s school hopes to satisfy the needs both of seasoned Joyceans and of newcomers to the world of Joyce studies. The School draws inspiration from Trieste itself – its history, its culture, its architecture, its institutions – and leaves participants with a sense of why Joyce came to describe the city as his “second country”.

The school opens on the evening of Sunday 26 June in the auditorium of the Galleria d’Arte moderna “Revoltella” and concludes with a farewell dinner the following Saturday. The morning lectures will see a selection of the world’s finest literary scholars address various aspects of Joyce’s life and works through a wide range of critical approaches. These lectures are accompanied by week-long afternoon seminars on Dubliners (Michael Patrick Gillespie), Ulysses (Fritz Senn), Finnegans Wake (Ron Ewart), and Joyce and Trieste (Erik Schneider). A special seminar called “Making Manuscripts Speak” on genetic approaches to Joyce will be jointly run by Geert Lernout and Michael Groden. A walking tour of Joyce’s Trieste is also arranged as well as a visit to the Trieste Joyce Museum. Among the highlights of this year’s social and cultural programme are readings by acclaimed Irish poet and critic, Bernard O’Donoghue, Joyce and Music – an illustrated lecture by Irish composer and music-professor, Frank Corcoran, a concert for violin and piano ((Tad Lauer and Peter Solomon featuring music by Ferrucio Busoni, Othmar Schoeck, and Luciano Berio. There will also be a visit to an Osmiza in the Triestine Carso, an evening of music and song, and an afternoon on the beach to enjoy what Joyce called “that damn silly sun that turns men into butter”!


Silvia Albertazzi

Università di Bologna

Frank Corcoran

Hochschule für Musik und darstellende Kunst



Another opportunity to get to know one of the most distinctive voices in Irish contemporary music, Frank Corcoran
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Corcoran Mad Sweeney

Mad Sweeney
Music for the Book of Kells
Wind Quintet
Sweeney’s Vision for tape

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Hard on the heels of Marco Polo’s issue of symphonies by Frank Corcoran – reviewed above – comes another disc of music by this fascinating composer. Corcoran, who was born in Tipperary in 1944, is a name in contemporary music who has eluded me until the appearance of the disc of the symphonies, and on the evidence of that disc I would certainly rank him as a major discovery of last year. He probably wouldn’t thank me for the comparison, but the best way to characterise his style might be to call him the Maxwell Davies of Ireland. I found the symphonies powerful, original and highly organic in structure. Black Box’s new disc offers us the chance to explore some of his music for smaller ensembles, as well as a remarkably atmospheric piece for tape.
Mad Sweeney for speaker and chamber orchestra is a setting of Seamus Heaney’s translation of an early Irish text about a 7th-century king from northern Ireland who went mad at the battle of Maigh Rath in AD 637, and who thereafter spent the rest of his life living wild as a fugitive and outcast. The Sprechgesang-style speaking part is delivered here in fine dramatic fashion by Corcoran himself, and this is marvellously entwined within the complex musical argument provided by the chamber orchestra. I was continually drawn back to this piece and found much to discover on repeated hearings. Less gripping, I thought, was the percussion piece Music for the Book of Kells which Corcoran describes as ‘a terse musical discourse’ and as ‘not programmatic but rather an abstract structure in its own right’. The trouble with ‘abstract’ percussion music of this kind is that it can have a tendency to dilute a composer’s individuality.
The Wind Quintet is in some ways a rather enigmatic, though nevertheless fascinating and thought-provoking piece that almost demands repeated hearings in order to penetrate its surface. It uses a technique which Corcoran calls ‘macro-counterpoint’ and seems to have a fascination with the opening phrase from Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring which is quoted early on and thereafter hinted at throughout. Described by Corcoran as ‘a four-movement, late-20th-century electronic symphony’, Sweeney’s Vision is a subtle and highly effective tape piece, which I would say successfully encapsulates Corcoran’s ideas about ‘mythic sound’ and ‘Irish dream landscape’. Superb performances and excellent recorded sound – Corcoran fans will not bedisappointed.’
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Philip Casey: Born in London 1950, grew up in Co.Wexford. Poet and novelist and disseminator of Irish culture. Member of Aosdàna.

Frank Corcoran: Composer and author. He has made innumerable radio-programmes over the years on modern music and contemporary culture, including with: RTÉ, R.A.I. Rome, S.F.B, DLF, UWFM, NDR, Radio Bremen, RIAS Berlin, WDR Köln, HR Frankfurt, BR München, Lyric FM. His over thirty years co-operation with NDR still continues with his radiophonic analyses of classical masterpieces (“Prisma-Musik” with NDR Kultur)

Benjamin Dwyer: Irish composer, guitarist, author. Professor at Middlesex University, UK.

Niksa Gligo: Born in Split in 1946. Croatian musicologist; professor at the Musical Academy of Zagreb University. Many years of working with the Zagreb Biennale, including Artistic Director in 1979.

Hans-Dieter Grünefeld: Born in Leer 1955 (Germany). Studied at Carl-von-Ossietzky Universität Oldenburg. Journalist (Music & Literature), innumerable publications in books (co-author) and special interest magazines. Also busy as lecturer, moderator, teacher.

Georg Hajdu: Born 1960 in Goettingen of Hungarian parents. Studied in Germany and the U.S.A. Since 2004 Professor of Multimedia Music at Hamburg Hochschule fuer Musik und Theater. Composer. Researcher at the cutting edge of new musical technology.

Axel Klein: Born 1962 in Muenster, Westphalia. Musicologist and expert on Irish contemporary scene. Among his studies of frank Corcoran and Others, see his contributions to Dictionary of Irish Biography 2009 and Encyklopedia of Music in Ireland 2013.

Ulrich Leyendecker: German composer. Born 1946 in Wuppertal. Professor of theory and composition at Hamburg and, since 1994 at Heidelberg-Mannheim.

James Liddy: 1934-2008. Irish poet and novelist. Lived and taught at Milwaukee University for many years. Member of Aosdana.

Jane O’Leary: Born in Hartford, Connecticut. In Ireland since 1972. Composer and pianist. Founded Concorde, the renowned Irish ensemble to perform and disseminate contemporary Irish composers. Member of Aosdana, the Irish Academy of the Arts.

Colman Pearce: Born in Dublin in 1938. Conductor, pianist and composer. Until some years ago Principal Conductor and Musical Director of the Missippi Symphony Orchestra. Premiered several Frank Corcoran symphonic works over the years.

Hans-Heinrich Raab: German radio producer of contemporary music and modern culture. Born near Greifswald, workek with Radio DDR II and, since 1990 NDR 3 (hamburg). His programme series “Prisma-Musik” since 2004 is an important series for modern music, national and international.

Gabriel Rosenstock: renowned poet working in the Irish Language, haikuist and translator. Author of over 100 books.

Alan Smale: Born in Devon in 1943. Studied violin from an early age. Led the RTE Concert Orchestra,the Irish Film Orchestra and then the National Symphony Orchestra until his retirement last year. Founder and director of the Degani Ensemble.

Wolfgang Tolk: German artist and designer. Studied in Braunschweig and Duesseldorf. Invented the halogen lamp minimum. Since the early nineties he works with minimalist, linear objects mostly out of wood and steelin cooperation with e.g. allglass, boffi, cappelini, living divani, porro etc.

Guido Zaccagnini: Roman musician, pianist, composer, radio and television music producer (translated Charles Rosen “The Classical Style”). Professor at “Santa Cecilia” National Music Conservatory, Rome.



Nato nel 1944 a Tipperary, Irlanda. Ha studiato lingue, filosofia, teologia e musica a Dublino, Roma e Berlino (composizione con Boris Blacher ). Ha partecipato nel 1980 al Berliner Kuenstlerprogramm.

Nel 1981 è stata suonata per la prima volta la sua First Symphony a Vienna.

Dal 1983 è professore di Musica in Amburgo. Nel 1989 – 90 è Fulbright Professor negli USA e invitato a tenere conferenze a Harvard, Princeton, CalArts, Indiana, NYU.

Ha lavorato con il premio Nobel Seamus Heany e con il poeta irlandese Gabriel Rosenstock. Tra le sue opere vi sono lavori per orchestra, coro, musica da camera ed elettronica, eseguite e trasmesse in Europa, Asia, Australia e America.

Tra i principali riconoscimenti si segnala nel 2013 il IFCM primo premio per “Eight Haikus”, nel 2013 il premio Sean O’Riada al Cork Choral Festival, nel 1999 il premio della commissione WDR, nel 2002 in Svezia il EMS premio per “Quasi Una Missa” e nel 1999 il premio al Bourges Festival per “Sweeney’s Vision”.

Dal 1982 è membro della Irish Academy of the Arts, Aosdana.

Ha partecipato a numerose trasmissioni radio e televisive con interventi sulla musica antica e contemporanea.

Tra le recenti opere troviamo: Clarinet Concerto (Irish Arts Council commission for New York premiere in 2019), Cello Concerto (2015 Irish National Symphony Orchestra), “Quasi Una Storia ” ( 2016 New York ), Piano Trio (2013 Zagreb Biennale), Violin Concerto (2013 Dublin Festival), “Mad Sweeney ” (2008 Boston), “Quasi Un Canto” (2007 Zagreb Philharmonic).

Per il suo settantesimo compleanno la C.M.C. ha commisionato il film “The Light Gleams”.