Frank Corcoran

irish composer

TO LIVE IS , WHISPER , TIPTOE , TO SUFFER

Consider, okay in its splendid self, the quickie, the ” quasi un haiku” . Breve and semi-breve, no bad ally in these bad, bad times.
The repertoires shiver ever more, together . For the ( few remaining ) biggy music-agencies in London . Ever more orchestras are ( made ) prepared ( ? ) to perform ( ? ) ever ( ? ) less composers. Whisper. I tiptoe. Suffer.
No, it is neither ” inevitable ” , nor was it always so . ( Suffer me at this e – moment to remain silent about an everpresent “musical” charlatanerie in “our” European music-map this , on ” our” ” arts´” brittle November Hamburg night .

BACK TO SQUARE ONE AGAIN, I´M AFRAID TO SAY

I see the “Well, then, who´s is the actual art-work ? ! ” brigade are back.
Is it the artist´s ? Her music-copyist´s ? The perception of all its potential / actual audiences ( shaky mathematics here; slobbery metaphysics ) till the end of Time ( when´ll that be, Saint John Wayne ? ) ? What then of the author´s rights ? Writes?
Rite and reason conflate and conflict , surely, in the musical composition, whether it is the concept, the score or the sounding brass ? Is that it ? Right so.
Hafiz sings ( sounds ? ) it well:
” Come – the Palace of Heaven rests on pillars of air.
Come – and bring me wine; our days are wind. “

NORTH ATLANTIC AWFUL LONELY , BRENDAN NAVIGATE

I see it differently. The same questions keep cropping up.
What is a musical composition ? One of mine , say ? 1. Old chestnut, is it my thought out concept , my scribbled and messy score, a bloody awful or sublimely musical performance ? Or what ? Could it be the sum total of all that mental time I spent with my obscure intuitions, my dreamed up intervals, synaesthetic colours and all ? ( Surely not ? ) Is it perhaps the sum total of all its performed performances ( are there others ? ) , actual or potential ? The score as a list of sound-possibilities , whether sound or not ? – Sound gerrul that you are …. And then , why ” my ” ? Surely, when it´s finished, it is – like any child of mine – then launched into the world of others, fighting its own corner, offering possibilities and interpretations each time different ? No longer ” my ” then ? Or still, for ever ” my ” ?

I blow on my cold fingers. twice, thrice. Is this music ?

DON´T BE BOULD , SON , EASY NOW !

So am I my tones ? My eg. “feeling-tone ” ? Well ? If, it´s well-known, after all, that ” Cadenza = Death ” ? See what I might say or see ? )

Yes, these last five or six years were rich. Very. We recorded the hay-results. Backing our, at that time, Killavalla black mare and the switch now had become a, my , poor, little diagonal – pull a handle tripped hay-car , I was still very young, it was very precious . Certainly, this world would become my Swiss ” Alm ” , my rescue from this desert I trod. Yes, I
did reason. ” Who´ll love me ? In this, my idyllic Irish North Tipperary bog infinitely killing ? Me ?

A LITTLE BIT EXTRA : A VERY CODA

I do so love my wastepaper basket; so airy-light ; so kenotic. He who empties himself should.
Certainly nowadays, every new Corcoran work is an obsession. My remaining years, yelling at the Second Law Of Obsessed Thermodynamics, must. Obsession with a motiv, a few intervals, a hidden text or texture. New SONGS OF TERROR AND LOVE ( March 14 2011 New York Premiere – watch this space ) to texts in Umbran and English by Jacopone da Todi are obsessed by the opening motivs of his ” Stabat Mater ” and Tommaso da Celano´s ” Dies Irae ” . Quite apart from various spins off from these great Medieval Latin Hymns ( are they hymns ? ) I react also to spins off his texts, I know.
My new Violin Concerto ( premiere 2012 in Dublin – again, watch this space ) is certainly obsessed with the four open strings of the soaring violin ( – how could it be otherwise ? ) , but also with the lightness of being and bow, the linearity of all my sung song, occasionally plucked, too . “RHAPSODIC BOWING ” for 8 Celli ( 2011 premiere ; again, this space …. ) as my title announces its obsession with deep or high cello strings. ” SYMPHONIES OF SYMPHONIES OF WIND ” for 23 Wind ( 1981 Vienna premiere by the O.R.F.S.O. / Lothar Zagrosek ) is a different obsession again, eg. with the deepest B Flat of the Double Bassoon ( fff ) at the end. Blown obsessions also obsess.
Or take the ” EIGHT HAIKUS BY FRANK CORCORAN ” for Double Choir ( again, it will be 2011 ) and my obsession there with vowel music, sung colours .

WOE IS ME TO REPEAT MY SONG. AND YET WHY ?

Again, why ? A double white martyrdom , flight from which precise address was the question that wanted no smarty pants answer ( a bit like the desired ” Why Don´t The Irish Understand Non Improvised / Traditional Music ! ? ” – well, why don´t we ? – ) like ” shure, the ould sow sulks now ! ” or such like. It was a great grace. Oisín i ndiaidh na Féinne had the grace of an Early Celtic ( poor John Wayne ) birth ; his fleeting steer hung on to this long harp ( tuned, as it happened , in E Flat . It did. ) . Fair enough the German blonde locks; and long after Fianna father´s tears had morphed into a holly sprink. With this, its ink now blog this: we build and build – a pity ! And have not here a lasting city ! But where we should endure , Sure there we´re SO unsure ! Why is this ? Watch tomorrow .

WE DONE IT – LIKE HANNIBAL´S MUSICAL ELEPHANTS

Well we got over them Alps , all things and great mountain tunnels considered, and no shortage of fresh snow above ground. So what is it that shaped this double exile ? From the land of ” Jawohl!” to that of ” Si! Magari! ” , I now wonder, the viaticum passed ? Was it the usual cunning and distance and getting the other angle ? I wonder about fate or design that shapes our ends, as the bags are silently unpacked for a while anyhow. Here it´s ham in the burg, snug as a rug, air-cured. ” A mighty burg ist unser Gott !” “Burg” is ” Buirgheas” , surely ? – As in ” Buirgheas
Uí Chéin” , englished poorly into ” Borrisokane” where ´twas far that I was, an unwashed lad, from Alpine tunnels and choral haikus ( more later on the 2011 premiere of ” EIGHT HAIKUS BY FRANK CORCORAN” for S S A A T T B B Choir ) .

COLD GOLDEN IS BEST

That tree-riding snake I wrote recently enough about has now ( I do hope – for it and me ) entererd its winter langour. The walnut-hamstering brown squirrel was not seen since ; our wind, this bone -cutting tramontana, whistles its Lazio Caoine for this good year, all nibs hung up to dry, like the fishermen´s nets at the lake shore in Marta. There´ll be no boat going out to our islands this wintry November. No place on troubled , post-volcanic waters. Cross the mighty Alps ( how did Hannibal bring along enough hay for his elephants , enough supplies of matches and vinegar to fire – split Alpine pass rocks, I do wonder as I blow on my fingers ) . Move on up. Bring one nib along. Music note-paper. On the off chance that.. I never know how the wind will change its icy tune.

COLD NIGHT, THANK GOD

Dawn just snuck up now to shake cold birds awake to their modest enough October song, just a motive or phrase repeated, hardly a melisma to be heard among them . Burn the summer´s waste wood today, certainly. Batten hatches down for five months. ( I will. ) Composed the FIVE TENOR LIEDER, RHAPSODIC BOWING for 8 Celli, FOUR PIECES FOR 2 CLARINETS, whil I prepare the Violin Concerto for its 2012 premiere . And The Tones Were Made Tunes, its orchestral birth ; other, sundry, good 2010 works, too. I saw the long snake disappearing up the Birds´Choral Tree very fast, spelling dreadful , avian disaster for some.
The rabbit family failed to penetrate their fence. Tomatoes exploded, ditto vegetable marrow. Space-time behaved itself. Felice tu !

OCTOBER STRIKES THE HEART´S NOTE

Each year , including this one, I have to buy a new sun-hat. Why ? A lone squirrel is pinching now from my walnut tree. And all parturitioning vipers keep about their invisible business as the nights get really cold here . Two hens, like dogs , answer the call of old Maria-Rovensa , next garden. Morning birds chitter alright after the rapidly dying heat. While thinking of the New York premiere ( early in 2011 ) of newest ” SONGS OF TERROR AND LOVE ” ( I englished Jacopone Da Todi´s great shout ! ) I scribbled this October Haiku:

Grease this chalice, grace !

“E lucevan le stelle” ….

Basho hiccups twice.