Frank Corcoran

irish composer

WORD AND TONE – JOYCE AND CORCORAN

At last, Frank Corcoran who contributed to the beginning of this presentation will contribute to the end as well.

Corcoran relates to the term ‘tone poet’ for a composer to Joyce and concludes that “Joyce was our first Irish composer, on one level our greatest.”
Corcoran’s ” Joycespeak-Musik” dates from 1995 and is an electro-acoustic collage of words read by Corcoran himself and pre-recorded musical quotations heavily indebted to John Cage’s ” Roaratorio” . The recurring melody in this collage is ” The Last Rose of Summer “, one of the famous Irish Melodies by Thomas Moore of the early nineteenth century, and its adoption in the German opera Martha by Friedrich von Flotow.

As such, the music could just as well be entitled ‘Moore-speak’ or ‘Flotow-speak’, but the literally spoken words are of course by Joyce.

Corcoran has been choosing words focusing on ‘Oh’ and ‘Ah’ sounds, thereby referring to the end of the last chapter of Ulysses with its many recurrences to the ‘O’ in Molly Bloom’s monologue and the “A last a long a …” in Finnegan’s Wake. I also cannot help making references to the name Bloom in the Last Rose which is “left blooming alone”.
” The Last Rose of Summer” does occur in many guises in ULYSSES , which have indeed all been found out by American literature professors, most comprehensively by Zack Bowen. So, if Joyce was indeed our first Irish composer I am, firstly, glad to have mentioned him all through this talk and, secondly, that Corcoran has been a faithful disciple by exploring the many Joyce phonemes and musical allusions
and what the composer has called “those knots of synaesthetic associations that transcend the logos-myth divide.”

Posted under: Humble Hamburg Musings

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