Joyce Madrigals

A collection of short pieces inspired by madrigals such as John Farmer's Fair Phyllis, with text from James Joyce's evocatively titled anthology Chamber Music. In Chamber Music, Joyce has skilfully reworked classical themes of courtship with a contemporary rhythmic flourish. The resulting poems appear at once intimately familiar, while simultaneously hiding complications that produce delightful musical results. In keeping with the antiquarian spirit of these poems, this collection pays homage to English madrigalists while infusing their Renaissance forms with a touch of modern harmony.

  • instrumentation: 3 part unaccompanied men’s voice (TBB)
  • 4 part unaccompanied mixed voice (SATB) arrangement available

My dove, my beautiful one

  • duration: 2′
  • range: F2 to A4 (bass F2 to A3, baritone C3 to D4, tenor G3 to A4)

Text from Chamber Music: XIV

My dove, my beautiful one,
Arise, arise!
The night-dew lies
Upon my lips and eyes.
The odorous winds are weaving
A music of sighs:
Arise, arise,
My dove, my beautiful one!
I wait by the cedar tree,
My sister, my love,
White breast of the dove,
My breast shall be your bed.
The pale dew lies
Like a veil on my head.
My fair one, my fair dove,
Arise, arise!

When the shy star goes forth

  • duration: 1′55″
  • range: F♯2 to A4 (bass F♯2 to D4, baritone D3 to E4, tenor D3 to A4 or C5 ossia)
SATB arrangement:
  • range: G2 to F5 (bass G2 to C4, tenor F3 to F4, alto G3 to A4, soprano B3 to F5)

Text from Chamber Music: IV

When the shy star goes forth in heaven
All maidenly, disconsolate,
Hear you amid the drowsy even
One who is singing by your gate.
His song is softer than the dew
And he is come to visit you.
O bend no more in revery
When he at eventide is calling,
Nor muse: Who may this singer be
Whose song about my heart is falling?
Know you by this, the lover’s chant,
’Tis I that am your visitant.

Bid Adieu to Girlish Days

  • duration: 50″
  • range: G2 to G4 (bass G2 to C4, baritone B2 to E4, tenor D3 to G4)

Text from Chamber Music: XI

Bid adieu, adieu, adieu,
Bid adieu to girlish days,
Happy Love is come to woo
Thee and woo thy girlish ways—
The zone that doth become thee fair,
The snood upon thy yellow hair,
When thou hast heard his name upon
The bugles of the cherubim
Begin thou softly to unzone
Thy girlish bosom unto him
And softly to undo the snood
That is the sign of maidenhood.

If you are interested in performing any of my pieces, contact me here.

2014 November 3

Updated 2021 January 11