James Joyce loved music, and he opened his worlds of poetry and prose to the sounds of music and song on almost every page. From calling his first collection of poems "Chamber Music" to the lyrical cadences of Finnegans Wake, Joyce incorporated music into his fiction every chance he could get. Characters from Dubliners discuss opera and popular songs, lyrics and fragments of ballads drift in and out of the Wake, and an entire chapter of Ulysses is dedicated to music, basing its intricate structure on a fugal form and brilliantly synthesizing language with musical motifs. Joyce himself was said to have a beautiful tenor voice, a talent he inherited from his father.
It seems only natural, then, that many composers and musicians would return the favor, mining the poetic vein of his fiction for artistic inspiration. This site is dedicated to exploring these musicians, from famous composers to unsigned bands -- the point is to get the word out so people can hear the music. It is my intention to make Bronze by Gold into a total resource for Joyceans and music fans alike, and I gladly accept any commentraies, reviews, suggestions or submissions. If you think you have anything to add, please email me. I would also like to thank Bill Winter for his assistance in this page -- Bill is responsible for much of the research on the pages devoted to Finney, Lauer, Lerdahl, Marsh, Mendes & Reynolds. Thanks, Bill!
James Joyce's The Dead: A Musical
James Joyce's The Dead is a recent musical adaptation of "The Dead," the haunting masterpiece that closes Dubliners. It originally starred Christopher Walken as Gabriel Conroy, and contains songs written by Shaun Davey, the fellow who scored Waking Ned Devine. The book is by playwright and Honorary Artist of The Royal Shakespeare Company Richard Nelson (Goodnight Children Everywhere and Two Shakespearean Actors).
I saw a preview of this show, and for better or for worse, here is the Brazen Head's Review. This page also contains several other reviews, various articles, and the official press releases associated with the production and its history.
Molly Bloom: A Musical
A jazz/cabaret style musical taking Molly's soliloquy as its inspiration, Molly Bloom is the creation of singer Anna Zapparoli and her husband, composer Mario Borciani. The musical encountered the wrath of the Joyce estate, who forbade its performance at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Despite the protestations of Stephen Joyce, James Joyce's grandson and executor of the estate, the musical was indeed perfromed, and even moved onto London for additional shows. You can read more here.
The Joyce Book
In 1929, some of Joyce's friends arranged to have the thirteen Pomes Penyeach set to music by thirteen different composers. This was published in 1932 by the Sylvian Press as The Joyce Book, limited to 500 copies.
The Joyce Book
Ross Chambers of the Finnegans Wake List sent me this letter, which details a bit of the history and contents of The Joyce Book.
The following are some essays and papers that have Joycean Music as a theme. If you have any you would like to add or suggest, please contact me.
Residing here at the Brazen Head, this paper discusses the influence of song and opera in Ulysses.
A Hypermedia Edition of the "Sirens" Episode
Crook, Laura M.
This paper takes the form of a Web site developed as a thesis project. It discusses and explicates the "Sirens" episode of Ulysses, and contains plenty of song samples. It is located on the author's home page.
Residing at the Brazen Head, this wonderful paper explores Joyce and his works from a musical perspective.
Finnegans Wake -- the Purest Blarney You Never Heard
From the Independent, this essay discusses the benefits of hearing FW spoken aloud. Marsh is a composer and the producer of the Naxos FW.
Music and Language in Joyce's "THE DEAD"
Mosley, David L.
This paper resides at Goshen College.