Gerard Victory

Gerard Victory

Symphony No. 2, "Il Ricorso"
Five Songs of James Joyce
Six Epiphanies of the Author: A Symphonic Study in Memory of James Joyce


Gerard Victory (1921-1995)
This Dublin-born composer was educated at University College Dublin and Trinity College. In 1948 he joined RTE (Radio Telefís Éireann, or Irish Radio and Television), where he was eventually appointed Director of Music from 1967 to 1982. As a composer, he was awarded the Order of Arts and Letters and the Order of Merit by France and Germany respectively. Of particular interest to Joyceans, one of Victory's teachers was Dr John F. Larchet, conductor of the Abbey Theatre's orchestra, and granted a small form of immortality by Joyce in Finnegans Wake:

The interjection (Buckley!) by the firement in the pit. Accidental music providentially arranged by L'Archet and Laccorde. Melodiotiosities in purefusion by the score.
(FW 219.2).

Victory has composed many works that cover a broad range, from opera and chamber music to various Irish commemorative commissions; and his style is likewise eclectic, absorbing such influences as serialism, Romanticism, operetta, and Irish traditional music. Literature, too, has been important to his work, and he has written pieces based on the lives or writings of Jonathan Swift, Thomas Hardy, William Blake, Oscar Wilde, Rimbaud, W. B. Yeats, and of course James Joyce.

Symphony No. 2 "Il Ricorso" -- (1977) Although not specifically Joycean, this work takes Vico's cyclical theory of history as its theme and structural motif; as does, of course, Finnegans Wake. A coincidence?

Five Songs of James Joyce -- (1978) For soprano, tenor, chorus, and orchestra.

Six Epiphanies of the Author -- (1981) For orchestra. This work was composed to mark the 1982 Joyce centenary year, and premiered in Dublin.

Links/CDs/Sound Samples

The Contemporary Music Centre of Ireland has a very nice Gerard Victory Page.

You may also read a very informative article on Victory at Classical Music on the Web.


--A. Ruch
& Bill Winter
15 December 2000
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