American Symphony offers look at Joyce’s musical tastes

Posted on: October 6, 2010

In Wednesday’s (10/6) Wall Street Journal, Corinna da Fonseca-Wollheim writes, “In literature, the figure of James Joyce casts a long shadow. That his influence also extends into music should come as no surprise, given the musicality of the language employed by the Irish writer, who was also an excellent singer and an accomplished pianist. …‘He was one of these creative figures who limit their experimentation to their own field,’ says Leon Botstein, who on Wednesday will lead his American Symphony Orchestra in a Carnegie Hall concert that focuses on Joyce’s musical universe. The three-work program will begin with the ‘Ballet Méchanique’ by George Antheil, an American avant-garde composer active in Paris in the 1920s, where he met and befriended Joyce and Ezra Pound. … Joyce was more genuinely impressed—and, some scholars say, influenced—by ‘Lebendig Begraben’ (‘Buried Alive’), a work by the Swiss composer Othmar Schoeck that is also on the program. … A very different sound characterizes ‘Ulysses,’ the final piece in Mr. Botstein’s lineup. The cantata by the Hungarian-Jewish composer Mátyás Gyorgy Seiber was written in 1947, six years after Joyce’s death. And in Mr. Botstein’s view it is ‘probably the finest musical work based on Joyce.’ ”

Posted October 6, 2010