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- James Joyce Music -
Music from the Works of James Joyce
Kevin McDermott and Ralph Richey


BIO --- Music from the Works of James Joyce is a recording of music composed to Joyce's own words (including his only known composition) and songs mentioned by him in his works. Continually performed since 1975 at a variety of Joyce festivals and symposiums worldwide, it was first recorded in 1982. But this music is meant not just for scholars. Whether or not you are a reader of Joyce, the concert of songs contained on the CD has been called "entertainment of the highest order" and the jewel case will make a handsome addition to the music collection of any audiophile.

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. ---

The Artistes --- It began in 1978: a chance meeting of a pair of supremely gifted musicians working in Boston, Mass., which quickly evolved into a longstanding professional partnership. The creative collaboration between singer Kevin McDermott and pianist Ralph Richey has lasted over one quarter of a century, and in that time they have forged together not just a unique performance style but also an enduring friendship. They have participated as equal contributors in countless projects, most notably in researching, developing, and performing the concert program Music from the Works of James Joyce, an acclaimed presentation of period songs and instrumental pieces mentioned by Joyce in his works (along with some contemporary compositions inspired by the writings of the famous author).

Messrs. McDermott and Richey have toured extensively with this program, performing it repeatedly at international Joycean events in the United States, Italy, and Ireland most notably at the celebration of the centennial of Joyce's birth held in Dublin in 1982. It has also been broadcast on the Irish, Belgian, and German national radio systems, as well as on National Public Radio (NPR) and Voice of America.

The concert was studio-recorded and published as an LP in 1981 by Sunphone Records. That original recording has been completely remastered and digitized, and is now available in music-CD format with the addition of four bonus tracks not previously included on the first album. The artistes continue to perform together, both in America and Europe, and are currently planning to record a second collection of "music from the works of James Joyce." --- Meet the Artistes - K. McDermott, Tenor - R. Richey, Pianist

REVIEW --- WOW! This is a real gem and a must have. Above I have quoted some information from the main web site but you need to go there and read much more in detail about this wonderful project. As I listened to the CD I was transported in mind back many years. I remember my Aunts and Uncles playing and singing many of these songs. Perhaps it was the times, the newness, the challenges or the tragedy and hopes that make this music still seem alive. The talent of Kevin McDermott and Ralph Richey is outstanding in every aspect on this truly collectors album. If you are a romantic or wish to be one you will be moved in the listening of these fine and wonderful songs.

Now Available: "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:

  1. Bid Adieu to Girlish Days
  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 (or, "Dingdong! The Castle Bell!")
  8. Blumenlied
  9. Those Lovely Seaside Girls
  10. My Girl's a Yorkshire Girl
  11. The Holy City
  12. M'appari (or, "Martha")
  13. Yes! Let Me Like a Soldier Fall
  14. The Bloom Is on the Rye (or, "My Pretty Jane")
  15. The Low-back'd Car
  16. The Croppy Boy
  17. Sweet Rosie O'Grady

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For More Details and CD Information:

Visit Sunphone Records Web Site

E-mail Contact

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Many musical artists and groups are active in their communities. Some perform before faithful fans on a regular schedule each week or weekend. They are independent musicians as compared to those music industry big names. We often think of the big name groups because we are exposed to the marketing blitz. I have had the opportunity to hear a number of independent performers with Capital Celtic. Some are just starting out and are perhaps a little rough around the edges and some are so outstanding I wonder why they have not entered into the "Big Time" music industry. Perhaps you have experienced the same? Perhaps you know of a new artist or group that you believe has talent that would be enjoyed by others? If so send me a CD and Bio and we will feature them on The Capital Celtic Network. - EEHealy


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