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Music in the Works of James Joyce

Written by eastern writer on Sunday, August 19, 2007

If he had not become a writer, there is a very good chance that James Joyce would still have made a name for himself by pursuing a career as a vocal performer. In 1904 he even shared the stage with the great opera singer and recital artist, John McCormack; and later on in life, after he had established himself as an author, he tirelessly promoted the singing career of his fellow Irishman and tenor, John Sullivan.

The close relationship between James Joyce and music has long been recognized by his readers, critics, and biographers. Joyce, like his father, was both an excellent singer (with a sweet tenor voice) and an accomplished pianist with an encyclopedic mastery of music of every type and genre, rivaling his vast knowledge of world literature. As a writer, he nevertheless incorporated music into all his works in increasingly complex ways, especially in Chamber Music, Dubliners, A Portrait of the Artist, Ulysses, and Finnegans Wake.

Beside helping our understanding of Joyce, studying his use of music is a wonderfully entertaining way to make the works more immediate and accessible.
Now Available: "Music from the Works of James Joyce" and "MORE Music from the Works of James Joyce"

Joyce was acquainted with music of all sorts, from grand opera to bawdy street ballads, and he interspersed countless allusions to these works throughout the body of his writings. What has long been rare in Joycean scholarship, however, is the opportunity to hear these songs performed in an historically accurate style that would be familiar to Joyce, and as his contemporaries would have heard them. The selections on the recording, recently released by Sunphone Records, are among the best known in the Joyce canon, and they include:
Volume I

* Bid Adieu to Girlish Days
* Silent, O Moyle
* I Dreamt That I Dwelt in Marble Halls
* Oft in the Stilly Night
* I'll Sing Thee Songs of Araby
* Love's Old Sweet Song
* Brigid's Song (or, "Dingdong! The Castle Bell!")
* Blumenlied
* Those Lovely Seaside Girls
* My Girl's a Yorkshire Girl
* The Holy City
* M'appari (or, "Martha")
* Yes! Let Me Like a Soldier Fall
* The Bloom Is on the Rye (or, "My Pretty Jane")
* The Low-back'd Car
* The Croppy Boy
* Sweet Rosie O'Grady

Volume II

* In the Shade of the Palm
* O Twine Me a Bower
* The Groves of Blarney
* Killarney
* Oh! Ye Dead
* Lilly Dale
* Suite of Stephen's Piano Improvisations:
"Loath to Depart," "The Agincourt Carol," "Greensleeves"
* The Lass That Loves a Sailor
* Suite from Chamber Music — settings by Ross Lee Finney (1952)
* My Lady's Bower
* What-Ho! She Bumps!
* Shall I Wear a White Rose?
* In Old Madrid
* Nuvoletta — by Samuel Barber (opus 25, 1947)
* The Lost Chord

Mark Your Calendar: June 16, 2008

Plan ahead! Bloomsday 104 will be upon us sooner than you think — but it's not too late to book an engagement to have the artistes on the CDs perform the aforementioned songs live at your Bloomsday event, whether in the U.S., Canada, or Europe.

To inquire about the CDs, Music from the Works of James Joyce and MORE Music from the Works of James Joyce, or to reserve a date for a live Bloomsday performance of the music, please contact Sunphone Records.

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