Musical Settings of Pomes Penyeach
Published in 1927, this slim volume of 13 poems reveals a greater intensity, directness, and economy of language than the verse of Joyce's youth, Chamber Music. They are at once more concrete in their imagery and impressionistic in their feeling.
Unlike the previous collection, not much about these poem is overtly "musical" — yet by the time Pomes Penyeach was published, Joyce was famous, and his social circle in Paris had expanded to include artists of every stripe, including (not surprisingly) many in the music business. Two of his friends, Herbert Hughes and Arthur Bliss, conscripted 11 other composers to create a book of 13 songs, with each one to write an original setting for one of the poems. The Joyce Book, as it was called, was published in 1933 as a tribute to the author in a limited edition of 500 copies.
The following table lists the composers and the respective poems they set to music.
This edition also included a portrait of Joyce by Augustus John; a prologue to the poems and settings by James Stephens; an essay on "Joyce as Poet" by Padraic Colum; and an epilogue by Arthur Symons.
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