Frank Corcoran

irish composer

NOV. 30 2000 FRANK CORCORAN DIRECTOR OF SLIGO NEW MUSIC ! WOW !

Stretching horizons was festival high note IRISH TIMES

Thu, Nov 30, 2000, 00:00

Frank Corcoran, director and guest composer of this year’s festival of contemporary music in Sligo,
seeks to disturb musical horizons; the new becomes the old and the old becomes the new,
a concept he has enshrined in a new word, “Seannua”.
This coinage (containing the Irish for old and new) he frequently brought to the attention of the audiences, but it was most vividly illustrated in the Vogler String Quartet’s concert: after Webern’s compact and painfully compressed Op.5, Ian Wilson’s nightmarish Wander darkling (written this year), Stravinsky’s stark Three Pieces and Wolfgang Rihm’s Quartet No.1 (written in 1970 and struggling to combine profundity with comprehensibility), Haydn’s Op.76 No.4 (Sunrise), unquestionably odd!

A lunchtime recital with Judith Mok (soprano), Colm O’Donnell (seannos) and Gabriel Rosenstock (reader), illustrated variously the capabilities of the human voice. The most recent work, John Buckley’s I am wind on sea (an early Irish text in his own translation) produced sounds of jarring primitivism that have been abandoned for the most part by western musicians; accompanied only by her own percussion (cymbals and wood blocks), Judith Mok could have been a visitor from Outer Mongolia.

In strong contrast was the gentle and tuneful mouth-music of Colm O’Donnell.
Rosenstock read some of his own haiku with warm feeling and engaging clarity and also provided the texts (in Irish)
for Corcoran’s Cuig luric. In these, the soprano was accompanied by the Mostly Modern Piano Trio and the composer used the words as springboards for elaborate inventions.

Although Saturday night’s concert contained Ligeti’s Six Pieces for Wind Quartet, Benjamin Dwyer Crow’s Vanity (a musical expression of understanding, if not of empathy, with Ted Hughes’s malicious and malignant bird of prey, written for cello and tape) and Donncha Dennehy’s Metropolis Mutabilis for tape solo (this was an apotheosis of traffic noises that might have been called “Dublin, the song of a great city”),
it was Corcoran’s night.

His Buile Shuibhne, a setting of Seamus Heaney’s translation, in which the composer was the impassioned reciter, accompanied by principals of the NSO and conducted by David Brophy, had a Shakespearian intensity that was reminiscent of King Lear. The four winds and the four strings and the percussion, now together, now at cross purposes, played as if their lives depended on it.

Equally committed was the RIAM Percussion Ensemble in Music From the Book of Kells and Goirt a’ Bhroin/ Trauerfelder.

Corcoran uses percussion in a subtle way, not relying too much on staccato rhythms; Goirt a’ Bhroin was both tocsin and knell, dirge and curfew, making its point by reticence and not overstatement.

Also in the concert was Corcoran’s new Wind Quintet (his third), recently commissioned by the Arts Council and played by the Daedalus Quintet.
Sweeney’s Winderies is its subtitle;
the composer writes: “It is in no sense programmatic. It is wind . . .”
An uncomfortable work, raw like a wound that still oozes, this was its first performance anywhere.
The other works, though performed abroad, have had to wait till now for a public performance in Ireland.

This festival, in the welcoming ambience of the Model Arts and Niland Gallery, makes some amends for the neglect. Yet another work, Lines and Figurations for bass-clarinet and marimba, was performed on Sunday, flanked by Concerto for Violin and Percussion by Lou Harrison and Concerto for Flute and Percussion by A. Joliver.
Richard O’Donnell conducted the RIAM Ensemble and principals of the NSO in these piquant blends of the oriental and classical.

IRISH TIMES 18 MARCH 2015 ON FRANK CORCORAN’S CELLO CONCERTO

In between, the orchestra’s principal cellist, Martin Johnson, gave the first performance of Frank Corcoran’s Cello

Concerto.

Corcoran long ago established a reputation as being something of a wild man, musically speaking, among Irish

composers. Rawness and roughness are his stock in trade. He prefers the jagged, the shrill, the disruptive to the

smooth, the sweet or the calming.

His note about the new concerto refers to the idea of the solo instrument singing in all registers. On a first

hearing it sounds as if his concern to allow the cello breathing space has created something of a Jekyll and Hyde

effect, with the orchestral ranting standing distinctly apart from the cello’s often more plaintive cries.

mdervan@irishtimes.com

Horizonte

Epen, Klagen, zwinkernde Zwischentöne

> Frank Corcoran |

Bild: Eugene Langan

>

> Montag, 06.01.2014

> 22:05 bis 23:00 Uhr

>

> BR-KLASSIK

>

> Der irische Komponist Frank Corcoran

> Von Ulrike Zöller

>

> Die Klänge seiner Kindheit in der Grafschaft Tipperary am irischen

> Fluss Shannon bestanden aus Flussrauschen, Naturgeräuschen und, wie

> Frank Corcoran schmunzelnd erzählt, einem „Schweineorchester“, 100

> Schweinen in vielen Tonlagen. Mit 21 Jahren hörte er zum ersten Mal

ein

> Streichquartett und begeisterte sich so sehr für die Musik, dass er

> neben seinem Studium der Theologie und Philosophie auch Musik

> studierte. In den Studienjahren in Dublin, Rom und Berlin entdeckte

der

> Komponist bei sich die Fähigkeit, seine Faszination für alte Mythen,

> die Erinnerung an die Klänge seiner Kindheit und seine literarische

> Begeisterung in Musik umzusetzen. An der Hochschule für Musik in

> Hamburg lehrt der 1944 geborene Corcoran bis zu seiner Pensionierung

> Komposition. Daneben schreibt er in vielerlei musikalischen Formen,

für

> verschiedene Klangkörper, Ensembles, auch mithilfe elektronischer

> Mittel. Immer wieder aber scheint bei seinen Kompositionen die alte

> Welt der Druiden, der irischen Heiligen, der Feen, der Naturwesen und

> weitsichtigen Literaten durch – ebenso wie die ersten musikalischen

> Eindrücke seiner Kindheit: Die archaischen Klänge der Totenklagen wie

> auch das „Schweineorchester“ seiner ländlichen Heimat.

FRANK CORCORAN’S ELECTRIC NEW QUARTET. PREMIERE IN 2019

Frank Corcoran on his new STRING QUARTET :

After Bartok , Ligeti and Lutoslawski how can I write something hot and strange ?

As I approach the age of seventy five, my new quartet’s 3 movements must aim for tautness, “there’s-not-much-time-left” stuff ;
– in plain English, everything must flow from

the opening bar of Mov. 1. , ” Allegro irascibile ma nobile ” .

Already in this opening is the electric tautness that I want from each instrument, each using the same 4 notes ( G . A flat . C sharp and D ) in different order .

My Leitmotiv

provides the building-blocks for the entire first movement ; – for each phrase and colouring and tonal region and

all my derived versions and expressed yells and screams,

all musical protests and denials, they all comes out of the opening sound explosion;

Yes, my architectural ideal here is as old as that of the great string quartets by the Viennese masters , but also

those of Webern , Schoenberg and Alban Berg.

“Ex parvis multa” was the old tag.

My composed unity IS audible ; it’s the thinking ear. The solo cello then announces the exhaustion of my 4-note

material as Movement One collapses.

Very slow Movement Two consists of the melodies which I weave out of my Frank Corcoran 7 -Note Scale ( – consisting

of G. A flat. C sharp. D. E flat. F sharp. A. – it built both the Violin Concerto and the Cello Concerto ), heard

first on the first violin, pizzicato. So melody plus accompaniments. That’s it.

Movement Three I have marked “Allegro Barbaro ” and ” feroce e ruvidissimo ” . The throbbing dyads on each of the four instruments shift and interlock , descend or ascend, sounding
great choirs of 4, 5, 6 and 7 voices.

This is no Irish minimalism but rather the most violent string music I have ever imagined.

The final chords are also all derived from the quartet’s opening. ( “In my end is my beginning”. ) No neo-Bartokisms

or Lutoslawskieries but neo-Corcoran.

High voltage. Kinetic art.

IRISH EMBASSY 27 May 2017 FRANK CORCORAN CONCERT

Please find below a personal invitation to a concert of Irish chamber music presented by renowned Irish composer and

Aosdána member, Frank Corcoran. This special programme of Irish music, new and old, will be performed by the

Pratoleva Piano Trio, members of the National Symphony Orchestra of Ireland, and will feature the Italian premieres

of Frank Corcoran’s Piano Trio and Duetti Irlandesi on “sean nós” old Irish melodies (2016 ). The concert will

take place at the Embassy of Ireland, Villa Spada on the Gianicolo on Saturday 27 May at 6pm.

MORE FRANK CORCORAN 2018 COMPOSER WORKS

May 17 2018 Belfast 9 LOOKS AT PIERROT ( Fls/Clars/Pf / V/ Vcl ) Hard Rain Soloists

May 12 2018 Bayern 2 Wissen Frank Corcoran Portrait ” Silbensang und Poesie ”

Jan 27 2018 Hamburg BILDER HOEREN / TOENE SEHEN ” Concert ( incl. 2. Symphony, 5 Lieder, Vokalise )

Feb. 20 2018 Finished IT SOARED A BIRD for Emma Coulthard, Cardiff ( Flutes and Pianoforte )

Jan. 20 2018 Finished QUASI UN DITTICO for String Orchestra ( Sreten Krstic and Zagrebacki Solisti )

NEW FRANK CORCORAN WORKS AND PERFORMANCES IN 2018

Jan. 27 Dublin Piccolo Quartetto Filarmonico . Kaleidoscope Club. Malachy Robinson Quartet.

May 14 Orvieto Teatro Mancinelli “IL CONCERTO DI DUBLINO” Hot Dialogues ( Viola and Piano ) Pratoleva Duo

May 15 Bolsena Piccolo Teatro Cavour ” ” ” ”

September 1 Amelia Theatre, Umbria FRANK CORCORAN PORTRAIT ( “An Irish Composer Invents Himself ” )

Nov. 11 North German Radio NDR ” ”

Dec. 1. Concertzender Holland ” ”

Dec. 16. Canterbury Cathedral AN IRISH CHRISTMAS CAROL

Dec. 18 Little Dublin Singers AVE VERUM

Dec. 19 St. Patrick’s Cathedral Dublin ”

March 17 2019 New York Church Of Christ And St. Stephen CLARINET CONCERTO ( NorthSouth / Max Lifchitz )
( Frank Corcoran at 75 on St. Patrick’s Day, N Y C )

A very modest e/cribble & dribble on, yes, once again ! , – my SELF/ESTEEM and its post/Christmas enemies …

I have once again caught myself out and copped myself on…

Among my young composer’ s works and sweated pomps from 1970 ( I was 26 years old, now c’mon ! ) to 1990 ( I eventually became 46, bruised but not bowed ) there are

, strong, extraordinary gob-smackers and ear-whackers among my musical compositions. Certainly. – So how come I had so long ignored, mistrusted, was

uncomfortable with and silent about these creative achievements ?

Today, late in the day , I got my hands again on a catalogue of the young Frank Corcoran’s long-forgotten compositions from all genres. seeing again my youthful music, I

was knocked sideways … I must ask again : Why so long my lack of ” appreciation” of some of my own works which I now briefly mention here.

Take my early MEDIEVAL IRISH EPIGRAMMES of 1973 – here is a crisply fresh handling of delightful Early Celtic texts ( and that choral HERR JESU CHRIST

of a few years later tackles the Baroque text of Paul Eber, with dark spirituality. – its quasi Black Death – terror of Late-Renaissance Europe .

Again, fresh and courageous colours, quasi instrumetal.. ).

THREE SYMPHONIC PIECES ( ” Pictures From My Exhibition ” ) explores just that, the instrumentating pencil as paint-brush. Retro- and Pro- and

Perspective in these dramatic scores .

Only now in late reflection do I see how my young Irish composer’s lonely struggle against a viciousl ocean of ignorance and anti-art

prejudice and , yerra , general bankruptcy of spirit in the Dublin of my tender years whacked and weakened continuously a brave young composer from the Outer

Yoblands. Yes. -Out there in these Sloblands which I had crawled from was not only Irish total depression or economic hopelessness

but a far worse moral failure in our “middle class ” to accept good Irish art or artists or to understand me as a

composing artist on my Irish island ; to ever dare to imagine with me the boundaries of the musically permissible.

It was woeful. Invincible

ignorance weakens . The pressure was enormous.

But I did not compromise; I decided not to give in in my composing to cheap solutions. Forge strong musical forms and don’t repeat yourself…

The Piano Trio, my break-through ( in 1978 ) to a newly crafted macro-counterpoint was my extraordinary victory over both my musical material and my “musical” ( ! )

ambience. It was bliss and Hell to be alive , certainly.

Before withdrawing to Berlin in 1979 on a Berlin Artist’s Scholarship, the Wind Quintet of that same

year shows highest qualities of, I’ll say it again and again , imagined compositional courage ( see especially the opening bars for those fresh , leaping upper

woodwinds ) .

No, it was no fun for me to have to fight dopyness and intellectual laziness, to persist in a lonely composer’s microcosmos .

The fight ( – heroic ? Certainly, heroic ! ) all but weakened my creative

energies – could have snuffed them out . And yet those three works which I carpentered and crafted in that first

Berlin ” annus mirabilis ” . my Symphonies Of Symphonies for 23 Wind, the there begun

2. Symphony and the first piece ever which I created in the electronic studies of the Technical University are as

huge as any orchestral, chamber or computer-works I have ever attempted since.

Many times I faltered, nearly let that dreadful indifference and lack of resonance take over. The opera ,

“Gilgamesh” I comosed entirely alone by myself in

the domestic terror and mental insanity of 1986 – 1989.

– Time to stop listing jousts and survival strategies and catastrophes and recoveries, I suppose. A list is only a

list.

By 1990 in distant America, I had crafted my “Music For The Book Of Kells”,

my sounding portrait of Early Iron Ireland. Hmmm, I suppose I had won through , bloodied but unbowed. gone strange

in my head and in my musical images.

The lesson which I ( culpably ? ) forgot for many decades since was : head down, forward fighting; never for an

instant give in to the barbarians and Yahoos.

Never.

A VERY MODEST E-CRIBBLE AND – DRIBBLE

I have once again caught myself out and copped myself on…

Among my young composer’ s works and sweated pomps from 1970 ( I was 26 years old, now c’mon ! ) to 1990 ( I

eventually became 46, bruised but not bowed ) there are

, strong, extraordinary gob-smackers and ear-whackers among my musical compositions. Certainly.

– So how come I had so long ignored, mistrusted, was uncomfortable with and silent about these creative achievements ?

Today, late in the day , I got my hands again on a catalogue of the young Frank Corcoran’s long-forgotten

compositions from all genres. seeing again my youthful music, I

was knocked sideways … Why so long my lack of ” appreciation” of some of my own works which I now briefly

mention here.

Take the HERR JESU CHRIST which a few years later tackles the Baroque text of Paul Eber, its dark spirituality.

its quasi Black Death – terror of Late-Renaissance Europe .

Again, fresh and courageous colours, quasi instrumetal.. ).

THREE SYMPHONIC PIECES ( ” Pictures From My Exhibition ” ) explores just that, the instrumentating pencil as

paint-brush.

Only now do I see how my young Irish composer’s lonely struggle against a viciousl ocean of ignorance and anti-art

prejudice and , yerra , general bankruptcy of spirit in the Dublin of my tender years whacked and weakened

continuously a brave young composer from the Outer

Yoblands. Yes. -Out there in the Sloblands from which I had crawled was not only Irish total depression or economic

hopelessness

but a far worse moral failure in our “middle class ” to accept good Irish art or artists or to understand me as a

composing artist on my Irish island ; to ever dare to imagine with me the boundaries of the musically permissible.

It was woeful. Invincible

ignorance weakens . The pressure was enormous.

But I did not compromise; I decided not to give in in my composing to cheap solutions. Forge strong musical forms and don’t repeat yourself…

The Piano Trio, my break-through ( in 1978 ) to a newly crafted macro-counterpoint was my extraordinary victory over

both my musical material and my “musical” ( ! )

ambience. It was bliss and Hell to be alive , certainly.

Before withdrawing to Berlin in 1979 on a Berlin Artist’s Scholarship, the Wind Quintet of that same

year shows highest qualities of, I’ll say it again and again , imagined compositional courage ( see especially the

opening bars for those fresh , leaping upper

woodwinds ) .

No, it was no fun for me to have to fight dopyness and intellectual laziness, to persist in a lonely composer’s microcosmos .

The fight ( – heroic ? Certainly, heroic ! ) all but weakened my creative

energies – could have snuffed them out . And yet those three works which I carpentered and crafted in that first

Berlin ” annus mirabilis ” . my Symphonies Of Symphonies for 23 Wind, the there begun

2. Symphony and the first piece ever which I created in the electronic studies of the Technical University are as

huge as any orchestral, chamber or computer-works I have ever attempted since.

Many times I faltered, nearly let that dreadful indifference and lack of resonance take over. The opera ,

“Gilgamesh” I comosed entirely alone by myself in

the domestic terror and mental insanity of 1986 – 1989.

– Time to stop listing jousts and survival strategies and catastrophes and recoveries, I suppose. A list is only a list.

By 1990 in distant America, I had crafted “Music For The Book Of Kells”,

my sounding portrait of Early Iron Ireland. Hmmm, I suppose I had won through , bloodied but unbowed. gone strange in my head and in my musical images.

The lesson which I ( culpably ? ) forgot for many decades since was : head down, forward fighting; never for an

instant give in to the barbarians and Yahoos.

Never.