The Joyce Book

Ross Chambers, an Australian member of the Finnegans Wake List, sent me this letter about the Pomes Penyeach song settings:

These compositions are published in The Joyce Book, ed. Herbert Hughes, The Sylvan Press 1932 United Kingdom Limited Edition 500 copies. To abbreviate the introduction:

"This book evolved out of conversations in Paris in autumn, 1929. Herbert Hughes and Arthur Bliss organised friends of James Joyce to make a volume of songs from 'Pomes Penyeach' and dedicate the volume to James Joyce."

The songs and composers:

Tilly -- E.J. Moeran
Watching the Needleboats at San Sabba -- Arnold Bax
A Flower given to my Daughter -- Albert Roussel
She Weeps Over Rahoon -- Herbert Hughes
Tutto e Sciolto -- John Ireland
On the Beach at Fontana -- Roger Sessions
Simples -- Arthur Bliss
Flood -- Herbert Howells
Nightpiece -- George Antheil
Alone -- Edgardo Carducci
A Memory of Players in a Mirror at Midnight -- Eugene Goossens
Bahnhofstrasse -- C.W. Orr
A Prayer -- Bernard van Dieren

You will probably find bios of most of the above in New Grove; Eugene Goossens is of interest in this part of the world, as the main driving force behind the idea of the Sydney Opera House, and more unhappily as the centre of a cause celebre in Australia in 1956 which has HCE resonances.
In the culturally aspirant , but overall stultifying cultural Sydney of those times the internationally recognised conductor Goossens was a great catch for the Sydney Symphony Orchestra and feted in upper crust circles -- so long as he toed the line of acting as the great conductor. In what was possibly an attempt to escape the boring conformity of that time in Sydney he made the acquaintance of one Rosaleen Norton "the witch of Sydney" who expressed her interest in the Kabbalah by performing (at that period and place) highly suspect rituals. This was to lead to his fall. Goossens, returning from a trip to Europe was apprehended by Customs officers at Sydney airport (he was usually waved through as the great artist) and was discovered to be carrying "pornography" of an undisclosed nature and artifacts for ritual purposes. He was discharged from his post in disgrace. As my source
says:

"Society turned its back on him . Overnight the distinguished maestro who had been cheered on the concert platform on so many jubilant occasions became the subject of sordid headlines and the butt of sniggers in the pubs."

"News of the scandal travelled across the world. He was no longer welcomed in the great concert halls and opera houses. He died in England in 1962."

However he did find an engagement for a time with the re-formed Carl Rosa Opera Company which is another Joycean link. (See Matthew Hodgart and Ruth Bauerle's Joyce's Grand Operoar for the place of the original CROC in Finnegans Wake.)

--Ross Chambers

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