martyn bates

Chamber Music #1


CD jewel case

SR81 /

This is the first volume of musical settings of James Joyce poems by Martyn Bates, published in 1994.

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").


This lovely album's title might be somewhat misleading; it refers not to the musical style, but to a book of poetry of that title written by James Joyce in 1902. Some of these poems have been given musical settings before, most notably Syd Barrett's haunting version of "Golden Hair" on his first solo album, but Chamber Music, Vol. 1 is the first album to combine all of the poems into a single song cycle. Interestingly, this album is also something of a musical homecoming for Martyn Bates; although the singer and keyboard player is best known for his artsy, minimalist electronic albums (both solo and as half of the duo Eyeless in Gaza), his initial musical interests were stirred by traditional British folk. On this album, which is performed almost entirely a cappella with only the most minimal musical backing on some tracks, Bates sets Joyce's poetry to melodies from the British and Irish folk idioms. The melodies fit Joyce's cadences as if they were written for them (unsurprisingly, given how attuned he was to his country's native idioms), and they suit Bates' clear tenor perfectly as well. Chamber Music, Vol. 1 is a stylistic departure for Martyn Bates, but an entirely successful one.
Stewart Mason / AMG




01 Strings In The Earth And Air 3:43
02 Dark Leaves 1:15
03 Twilight Turns From Amethyst 3:05
04 Yellow Keys 0:53
05 At That Hour When All Things Have Repose 3:19
06 When The Shy Star Goes Forth In Heaven 3:05
07 Lean Out Of The Window, Goldenhair 5:02
08 I Would In That Sweet Bosom Be 2:04
09 Sad Austerities 0:55
10 My Love Is In A Light Attire 1:55
11 Who Goes Amid The Green Wood 2:30
12 Rich Apparel 0:27
13 Winds Of May, That Dance On The Sea 3:45
14 Silvery Arches 0:42
15 Bright Cap And Streamers 1:41
16 Bid Adieu 3:45
17 What Counsel Has The Hooded Moon 3:08
18 Go Seek Her Out Courteouly 3:35
19 Nightdew 1:12
20 My Dove, My Beautiful One 3:35
21 From Dewey Dreams, My Soul, Arise 3:35
22 The Flowery Bells Of Morn 0:34
23 O Cool Is The Valley Now 3:35
24 Thrushes Calling 0:34
25 Because Your Voice Was At My Side 3:36
26 Stranger 1:28
27 O Sweetheart, Hear You 4:25