Chamber Music - (1991)
Nine songs for high or medium voice and piano
i. Make Music Sweet [ 1 pages, circa 1' 00" ]
Strings in the earth and air
Make music sweet;
Strings by the river
The willows meet.
There's music along the river
Pale flowers on his mantle,
Dark leaves on his hair.
All softly playing,
With head to the music bent,
And fingers straying
Upon an instrument.
ii. Twilight [ 2 pages, circa, 2' 15" ]
twilight turns from amethyst
To deep and deeper blue,
The lamp fills
with a pale green glow
The trees of the avenue.
The old piano plays
Sedate and slow and gay;
She bends upon the yellow keys,
Her head inclines this way.
Shy thoughts and grave wide eyes and hands
That wander as they list--
The twilight turns to darker blue
lights of amethyst.
iii. Goldenhair [ 2 pages, circa 1' 30" ]
Lean out of the window,
I hear you singing
My book was closed;
I read no more,
Watching the fire dance
On the floor.
I have left my book,
I have left my room
For I heard
Through the gloom,
Singing and singing
A merry air.
Lean out of the window,
iv. Where Love Did Sometime Go [ 1 pages, circa 1'
O cool is the valley now
And there, love, will we go
For many a choir is singing now
Where Love did sometime go.
you not the thrushes calling,
Calling us away?
O cool and pleasant is
And there, love, will we stay.
v. Pain [ 2 pages, circa 1' 00" ]
Because your voice was at my side
I gave him pain,
Because within my
hand I held
Your hand again.
There is no word nor any sign
He is a stranger to me now
Who was my friend.
vi. Companion [ 1 page, circa 1' 00" ]
who hath glory lost nor hath
Found any soul to fellow his,
foes in scorn and wrath
Holding to ancient nobleness,
His love is his companion.
vii. Gentle Lady [ 1 page, circa 1' 15" ]
Gentle lady, do not sing
Sad songs about the end of love;
sadness and sing
How love that passes is enough.
Sing about the long
Of lovers that are dead, and how
In the grave all love
Love is aweary now.
viii. Rain Has Fallen [ 2 pages, circa 1' 15" ]
Rain has fallen all the day.
O come among the laden trees:
lie thick upon the way
Staying a little by the way
memories shall we depart.
Come, my beloved, where I may
Speak to your
ix. I Hear an Army [ 3 pages, circa 2' 00" ]
I hear an army charging upon the land,
And the thunder of horses
plunging, foam about their knees:
Arrogant, in black armour, behind them
Disdaining the reins, with fluttering whips, the charioteers.
They cry unto the night their battle-name:
I moan in sleep when I hear
afar their whirling laughter.
They cleave the gloom of dreams, a blinding
Clanging, clanging upon the heart as upon an anvil.
shaking in triumph their long, green hair:
They come out of the sea and
run shouting by the shore.
My heart, have you no wisdom thus to despair?
My love, my love, my love, why have you left me alone?
[ Total duration, 15 pages, 12' 15" ]
From the 1909 edition, Joyce says:
"Perhaps this book I send you now
will outlive both you and me. Perhaps the fingers of some young man or young
girl (our children's children) may turn over its parchment leaves reverently
when the two lovers whose initials are interlaced on the cover have long
vanished from the earth. Nothing will remain then, dearest, of our poor
human passion-driven bodies and who can say where the souls that looked on
each other through their eyes will then be. I would pray that my soul be
scattered in the wind if God would but let me blow softly for ever about one
strange lonely dark-blue rain-drenched flower in a wild hedge at Aughrim or
Of the last song's text, Yeats wrote to Joyce on 18 Dec 1902: "a charming
rhythm in the second stanza, but... not one of your best lyrics as a
whole... the thought is a little thin... the poetry of a young man who is
practicing his instrument, taking pleasure in the mere handling of the
stops..."Yeats showed it to Ezra Pound in Dec 1913, who bought it for his
anthology Des Imagistes Yeats reconsidered and wrote in July 1915: "a
technical and emotional masterpiece."
Tessitura for high voice
The score for
Chamber Music is available as a free PDF download, though any major
commercial performance or recording of the work is prohibited without prior
arrangement with the composer. Click on the graphic below for this