James Joyce in 1915

In 2011 Dr Gerry Smyth of LJMU English set to music the thirty-six lyrics that comprise Chamber Music, published by the Irish author James Joyce in 1907. Although Joyce is one of the most studied authors of the modern era, his poetry remains relatively unknown.

The following year, Gerry recorded this material for a CD entitled James Joyce’s Chamber Music: New ‘Folkish’ Settings of the Thirty-Six Lyrics, and since then he has performed material from the album on numerous occasions, including events in Belgium, France, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway and Sweden.

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Gerry performing Chamber Music in Nijmegen, Holland

During the same period, Dr Smyth commenced work on a web-based learning resource, hosted by LJMU, which features a wide range of textual and video materials relating to Joyce’s original collection, and to the new musical version. This is an on-going project which will in time be fully integrated into LJMU English’s teaching and research profile, and you can access it here, and via the ‘Links and Resources’ section of our site.

The website was launched at an event in the Everyman Theatre, Liverpool, on Thursday 22nd January 2015, which featured the live performance of three of Joyce’s lyrics by Gerry and his daughter Esther. Matthew Campbell, Professor of Modern Literature at the University of York, introduced the audience to the place of Chamber Music within Joyce’s life and work, and commended Gerry’s contribution to the study of Joyce’s work through this amazing learning resource that places music at the very centre of Joyce’s artistic vision.

We hope you enjoy exploring it!

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