Corcoran, Frank(b Borrisokane, Tipperary,1 May 1944).
He studied music at St Patrick’s College, Maynooth (1961–4), music, philosophy and theology in Rome (1964–7) at the Pontificio Istituto di Musica Sacra and the Università del Laterano,
and composition in Berlin with Blacher (1969–71).
He has served as music inspector for the Irish Department of Education(1971–9),
been a guest of the Berlin Artist’s Programme (1980–81)
and has taught at the Staatliche Hochschule für Musik, Stuttgart (1982–3)
and the Staatliche Hochschule für Musik und Darstellende Kunst, Hamburg (from 1983).
He was elected to Aosdána, the Irish academy of creative artists, in 1983.
He was a Fulbright visiting professor and Fulbright scholarin the U.S. in 1989-1990.
His compositions have won a number of prizes including
the Studio Akustische Kunst First Prize in 1996 for Joycepeak Music,
first prize at the Bourges International Electro-acoustic Music Competition in 1999 for Sweeny´s Vision,
the EMS Prize,Stockholm in 2002 for Quasi Una Missa and
the International Federation for Choral Music’s Second International Competition for Choral Composition for EightHaikus in 2013.
Cork Choral Festival Sean O Riada Prize in 2014.
Corcoran has developed a distinct and complex language of aleatory macro-counterpoint in which sound layers are superimposed polyphonically but retain independence through distinctive polymetric, agogic and dynamic indications. This technique is evident from the early Piano Trio (1978) to Ice Etchings no.1 and Mad Sweeney (both 1996).
The later was the first of a series ofworks initially inspired by Seamus Heaney’s translation of the Irish epic.
His many cultural interests are reflected in the texts of his vocal works; the opera Gilgamesh (1990), for example, is based on a Sumerian epic. The Irische Mikrokosmoi for piano (1993) are based on traditional Irish melodies and rhythms.
From 1999 until 2009 to he worked on a series of works utilizing the descriptor ‘quasi.’
These ranged from orchestral works such as Quasi un canto and Quasi un Visione to solo instrumental works such as Quasi un Basso.
Works (selective list )
Op: Gilgamesh , 1990 Orch:
Carraig Aonair Suite, 1976; Chbr Sym., 1976; 3 Pieces ‘Pictures from MyExhibition’, 1976; Caoine [Lament], fl, str, 1979; Sym. no.1 ‘Syms. of Syms. o fWind Insts’, 1981;
Sym. no.2, 1981; Conc., str, 1982; Farewell Syms.(Corcoran), spkr, orch, tape, 1982;
Shadows of Gilgamesh, 1988; Cantus de calamitate hiberniorum in patria antiqua, 1991;
6 Irische Mikrokosmoi, str,1994;
Sym. no.3, 1994; Sym. no.4, 1996;
Quasi un canto, 2002;
Quasi un concertino, 2003; Quasi un vision, 2004;
Quasi un fuga, 2005;
Violin Concerto, 2011;
Cello Concerto, 2013
Vocal(SATB, unless otherwise stated):
Aifreann [Mass], unison vv, org, 1973;
Dán Aimhirgín (old Irish), 1973;
9 Medieval Irish Epigrams, 1973;
2 Meditations (J.Barth), spkr, orch, 1973;
More (J. Pupacic), 1976;
Herr Jesu Christ (P. Eber), 1978;
5 Liric de Chuid Rosenstock [5 Lyrics after Rosenstock], S, pf, trio,1980;
Das Stundenbuch (R.M. Rilke), SATB, org, 1990;
Mad Sweeney (S. Heaney),spkr, chbr orch, 1996;
Quasi una melodia (Anon), S, asax, vib, mar, vn, va, pf, 2000;
Beyond Beckett, S, vn, vc, b cl, 2006;
Songs of Terror and Love (F. Corcoran & Jacopone Da Todi), B, fl+picc+afl,cl+bcl, pf, vn+va, vc, 2011;
Two Unholy Haikus (G. Rosenstock, F. Corcoran), 2011;
Eight Haikus (F. Corcoran),SSAATTBB, 2012
Brass Qnt, 1973; Chbr Sonata, fl, vn, va, vc, perc, 1974; Gestures of Sound and Silence, vc, pf, 1976; Str Qt no.1, 1976; Pf Trio, 1978; Shorts, vn, vc, 1978; Wind Qnt, 1978; Str Qt no.2, 1979; Rhapsodies on a Windy Night, cl, vn, va, vc,db, perc, 1981; Lines and Configurations, b cl, mar, 1983; 5 Amhráin gan Fhocail [5 Songs without Words], ob, eng hn, trbn, perc, pf, str, 1984; Music for the Book of Kells, 5 perc, pf, 1990; 4 Concertini of Ice, fl, ob, cl, hn,vn, vc, db, perc, 1992; Dream Song, fl, cl, bn, vc, gui, pf, 1992; See-Through Music, fl, vn, va, vc, pf, perc, 1993; 4 Miniatures, fl, vc, 1994; Rhapsodic Thinking, 4 vn, 1994; Rhapsodic Delight, 2 vn, 1995; Trauerfelder, 4 perc,1995; Ice Etchings, wind nonet, 1996; Str Qt no.3,1997; Wind Qnt no. 3, 1999; Sweeney’sSmithereens, fl, pic, cl+bcl, perc, pf, vn, db, 2000; Quasi una Sarabanda, cl,bn, hn, 2 vn, va, vc, db, 2009; Clarinet Qnt, 2011Soloinst: Suite, vc, 1972; Sonata, org, 1973; The Quare Hawk, fl, 1974; Variations with Air, a sax, 1976; Hernia, db, 1978; Changes, pf, 1979; Mythologies, perc,1979; Variations on Caleno Costure, hpd, 1982; 3 Pieces, cl, 1987; 3 Pieces,gui, 1990; Irische Mikrokosmoi, pf, 1993; Ice-Etchingsno. 2, vc, 1996; Sweeney’s Total Rondo, pf, 2002; Quasi un basso, db, 2005; In the deep heart’s core, hp, 2011; A dark song, b cl, 2011
Balthasar’s Dream, 1980; Joycespeak, 1995;
Sweeney’s Vision, 1997;
Sweeney’s Last Poem, 1998;
Quasi una missa,
MSS in IRL-Dc
Principal publishers: Naxos Selfhelp,
Bibliography KdG (A. Kreutziger-Herr) A.Klein: Die Musik Irlands im 20. Jahrhundert (Hildesheim, 1996) J. Page: ‘A Post-War “Irish” Symphony: Frank Corcoran’s Symphony no. 2’ in Cox & Klein (eds) Irish Musical Studies 7:
Irish Music in the Twentieth Century(Dublin, 2002)Gareth Cox