martyn bates

Chamber Music #2


CD jewel case + booklet


This is the second volume of musical settings of James Joyce poems by Martyn Bates, published in 1996.

Chamber Music is a collection of poems by James Joyce, published by Elkin Matthews in May, 1907.
The collection originally comprised thirty-four love poems, but two further poems were added before publication ("All day I hear the noise of waters"
and "I hear an army charging upon the land").

Released barely four months after Chamber Music, Vol. 1, this 27-track follow-up completes the song cycle, putting half of James Joyce's 1902 chapbook Chamber Music into a cappella musical settings. Where Vol. 1 had occasionally colored the pieces with ambient keyboards and acoustic instruments, Chamber Music, Vol. 2 is a strictly voice-only affair, the most purely minimalist recording of Bates' entire career. As before, Bates sets Joyce's poetry into melodies taken (often piecemeal) from British and Irish folk tradition, a canny idea that helps to reveal the influence of popular ballad singing on the Irish author's idiosyncratic but surprisingly traditional sense of meter. Often, musical settings of poetry sound forced and awkward; these 27 miniatures sound like Joyce had written these poems to these melodies, and the results are far more natural sounding than is usually the case with this kind of experiment. Bates would experiment further with both folk music and poetry for the next several years, but the two volumes of Chamber Music are the pinnacle of his explorations.
Stewart Mason /AMG




1 Be Not Sad 4:26
2 In The Dark Pine-Wood 2:21
3 His Love 0:26
4 He Who Hath Glory Lost 1:37
5 His Companion 0:26
6 Of That So Sweet Imprisonment 3:27
7 This Heart 5:20
8 Between Kiss And Kiss 1:00
9 Silently She's Combing 3:16
10 On The Drappled Grass 0:46
11 Lightly Come Or Lightly Go 4:56
12 Thou Leanest To The Shell Of Night 1:45
13 At Ghosting Hour 0:50
14 Though I Thy Mithridates Were 2:36
15 Gentle Lady, Do Not Sing 2:49
16 Dear Heart 3:45
17 Love Came To Us 2:01
18 O, It Was Out By Donnycarney 2:43
19 Bat 1:46
20 Rain Has Fallen 1:27
21 Now O Now 5:54
22 The Wind Is Whistling 1:31
23 Sleep Now 2:53
24 Unquiet 1:15
25 All Day I Hear The Noise Of Waters 4:50
26 I Hear An Army 4:50
27 Fluttering Whips 1:14