gershon hepner

(5 3 38 / leipzig)

it's what's behind


What counts, said Joyce, is what's behind
the words and music of the score.
Ignore them both and you will find
their very essence, which is more
than words and music, though you can't
define it if you're asked to do so.

They’re new to you, each time you chant,
like islands unexplored by Crusoe,
a hero long ago created
by Irish spirit, just like Joyce,
who found what’s unanticipated,
deep meaning, may not have a voice.


Michael Seidel ('An Irish Tenor Named Joyce Inspires a Musical') writes about a new musical, 'James Joyce's 'The Dead, '' which opens on October 28th at Playwrights Horizons, in Clinton (NYT, October 1,1999) . Joyce used to love to sit down at the piano and play Irish music hall ballads late into the night. His son Giorgio was a professional baritone and he himself had a sweet, soaring tenor voice that enchanted French soldiers in Brittany in 1939 when he sang the 'Marseillaise'. Otto Luening, who knew him in Zurich during the First World War, recalls an occasion when Joyce hummed a tenor aria from Gluck's 'Orfeo' and was so absorbed that he went into a trance in the middle of his rendition. 'Word? Music' No: it's what's behind, ' thinks Leopold Bloom in 'Ulysses'. Seidel points out that love, sadness, ecstasy and all the things that we cannot define but make us feel good and whole or feel bad and divided are behind the words and music and are what counts.


10/1/99

Submitted: Tuesday, November 11, 2008

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