Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Music From The Works Of James Joyce

Taken by Gisèle Freund in 1939
"He liked Yeats's poem 'The Cloths of Heaven', and had set it to music, but for himself he would allow no woman to tread, be it ever so lightly, on his dreams." From Stanislaus Joyce's My Brother's Keeper

Thanks to this great site: james-joyce-music.com, it is much easier to find the songs mentioned in Joyce's works. The site also provides extensive information including lyrics of the songs, their influence on the author and essays on Joyce the musician.

I put all available songs listed by the above site into a playlist, together with Syd Barrett's Golden Hair (based on a poem from Chamber Music), Kate Bush's Flower Of The Mountain (based on Molly's soliloquy), Jefferson Airplane's Rejoyce, John Cage's Roaratorio (based on Finnegans Wake), Finnegan's Wake by The Dubliners, one track from an compilation of 36 indie artists interpreting 36 poems of Chamber Music, and some classical works on Joyce texts by Stephen Albert, Barber, Berio, Del Tredici, Otto Luening and Takemitsu. The playlist starts with Eolian Episode from Ulysses, mixed to Satie's Gnossiene, and ends with April/ALP from Wake, mixed to the music of Oval, both passages were read by Joyce himself, and mixed by DJ Spooky.

Here's the Spotify playlist: Music From The Works Of James Joyce (38 tracks, total time: 2 hours.) When multiple choices were available, I chose historical recordings that are more close to Joyce's time. Two tracks were performed by John McCormack, who had sang with Joyce the amateur tenor. See this page for liner notes and lyrics.

See complete tracklist below, with links to more information:

1, Eolian Episode
2, Silent, O Moyle
3, I Dreamt That I Dwelt in Marble Halls
4, Oft in the Stilly Night
5, I'll Sing Thee Songs of Araby
6, Love's Old Sweet Song
7, Brigid's Song
8, Blumenlied
9, The Holy City
10, M'appari
11, Yes! Let Me Like a Soldier Fall
12, The Bloom Is on the Rye
13, The Low-back'd Car
14, The Croppy Boy
15, Sweet Rosie O'Grady
16, In the Shade of the Palm
17, The Groves of Blarney
18, Killarney
19, Lilly Dale
20, Barber: Nuvoletta
21, The Lost Chord
22. Finnegan's Wake
23, Barber: 3 Songs, Op. 10 
24, Del Tredici: Syzygy, For soprano, chimes, horn, and orchestra
25, Del Tredici: Four Songs on Poems of James Joyce
26, Harry Partch: Settings for soprano, kithara & two flutes
27, Califone: VII, from Chamber Music
28, Syd Barrett: Golden Hair
29, Otto Luening: Joyce Cycle
30, John Cage: Roaratorio
31, Kate Bush: Flower Of The Mountain
32, Jefferson Airplane: Rejoyce
33, Toru Takemitsu: A way a lone
34, Toru Takemitsu: Far calls. Coming, far!
35, Toru Takemitsu: riverrun
36, Stephen Albert: Symphony riverrun
37, Luciano Berio: Chamber Music 
38, April/Anna Livia Plurabelle


  1. I'm reading Ulysses for the first time right now, and this was perfect timing.

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