Letters: The Genom Celticum
I used to think it was the Genom Celticum, this continuing inability to tolerate art music in the arts-corner. One tactic is to refer to it as squeaky-gate music. Music as extended time-art. Time out. Time bent, buckled and trimmed to attack the subcutaneous heart.
I used to see Ó Riada´s (rightly lauded – his problem lay elsewhere…) bringing ceol traidisiúnta back into the Pale in so conquering a fashion, so confidently, as the main obstacle to our Irish continued automatic exclusion (Oh yes!) of our music from the canon of the thinkable arts. This unability to allow this sound-art to exist, to BE – (even as mere) possibility in my human consciousness- extended , always COMPLEX (but simultaneously SIMPLE) challenge to my ears´ retention: Sounding Form.
You can’t bate Time.
I was very wrong. Take the New Germany, where I work in these difficult vine-yards these long twenty years or more. Forget Beethoven. Forget Goethe and Schiller. Hamburg´s most popular theatre-piece at the moment, titled Bite Me, Take Me, Fuck Me, Suck Me, says it better. The locals cannot imagine music as a (yes, demanding – what´s wrong with courage?) shaping of temporal form that jogs your ears after the first eight bars have subsided.
Art-music is no longer secure here. The Faith has been lost. Was it ever really here? My belief – that you must fashion sound-in-time or time-in-et-cetera as a poet, sculptor, dramatist, painter, neon-artist – is now an endangered species of Faith. We Irish meet us Germans in a curious, innate inability to hang in there after those first seven, glorious, assymetrical bars of beaten, bashed, sung, stroked, licked or bitten sensuous material. Readers of JMI, why this alignment of Irish aphasia with teutonic musical dyslexia ?
Published on 1 March 2002
Since 1983 Frank Corcoran has been Professor of Composition and Theory in the Staatliche Hochschule für Musik und Darstellende Kunst, Hamburg. His CDs include Mad Sweeney (BBM 1026) and Symphonies Nos. 2, 3, & 4 (Marco Polo 8.225107).Frank Corcoran is guest composer and artistic director at the Sligo Contemporary Music Festival, full details of which appear on the back cover of The JMI. Since 1983 Frank Corcoran has been professor of composition and theory in the Staatliche Hochschule fur Musik und darstellende Kunst, Hamburg. His CDs include Mad Sweeney (BBM 1026) and Symphonies Nos. 2,3 & 4 (Marco Polo 8.225107)