Corcoran Symph/Marco Polo/

Review by: Jed Distler

Artistic Quality: 10

Sound Quality: 10

Both stylistically and geographically, Frank Corcoran’s music is literally a long way from Tipperary, where he was born in 1944. The Hamburg-based composer studied with Boris Blacher, whose feisty orchestration and logical cool rubbed off on his pupil. Corcoran’s sound world, though, evokes the steel-edged structures of Edgar Varèse, as well as Elliott Carter’s complex yet pliable metric schemes. Every shape and size of percussion dominates the thematic discourse, while the wind and brass players provide punctuating signposts. The lower strings grunt and groan in fractured, half-remembered melodies, trying to find their rightful corner within Corcoran’s spacious, yet tersely woven canvasses. Descriptions, however, only hint at Corcoran’s freshness of invention and superb ear for timbral contrasts. The performances are fluent, assured, and superbly recorded. Anyone who harbors doubts about the future of the symphony will find these three works quivering with possibilities.

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Recording Details:

Reference Recording: This one

FRANK CORCORAN - Symphonies Nos. 2, 3, & 4

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