Frank Corcoran

irish composer

PROGRAMME _ NOTES for ” Quasi Una Fuga ”

QUASI UNA FUGA Frank Corcoran

” Quasi Una Fuga” is in no way neo-baroque ( – this I consider to be a pretty unfortunate stylistic aberration of certain 20 th. c. composers ; eg. Stravinsky´s back-to-Bach works are not his best. Bach did it better…. ) . Yet it does have something, in fact everything, to do with counterpoint; my 18 strings play only lines throughout.
Yes, there is a theme, a counter-theme. In my ” Quasi – Exposition” you hear rising entries , from low cello and bass to high violins, then descending entries ( my melodic shape has become its own inversion! ) This protean, easily recognizable theme comes in every conceivable shape through the ebb and flow of my one movement-work, consisting entirely of bits and fragments and smithereens of the “fugal” theme ; it is mutating and morphing all the time until it has become at last the ( five-tone ) Early Medieval Celtic chant, ” Ibunt Sancti”, one of St. Brendan The Navigator´s favourite melodies. Was this the hymn his twelve monks sang , preparing their dinner on the back of a N. Atlantic whale near Greenland …. ? ) .
This is the final composition in my ” Quasi” series of these last years ; from ” Quasi Un Canto ” for Large Orchestra ( Zagreb 2004 ) to ” Quasi Un Pizzicato” for Singer, Speaker and Ensemble ( Hamburg 2005 ) , these works reflect the fact that no composer living today is musically innocent. I know too much music of the past, too much world-music. Of course ” Quasi Una Fuga” feels the shadow of giant-composers from my recent past. Without being beholden to any man, I must know what great music for string-orchestra was written by eg. Bartók, Ligeti and Lutoslawski. My composition is only ” quasi” a fugue, while being entirely fugal.

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