The Dead is rich in music from Italian opera to popular folk songs. Music and song is the soundtrack to the dinner party while the conversation around the table shares stories of Enrico Caruso and the music halls of the city. The story’s epiphany hangs on a memory provoked by a song ‘The Lass of Aughrim’. Professor Harry White unpacks the power of music in Joyce’s narrative and we discover how central a force music and song was in the author’s life. Professor White sees the story itself as an operatic composition. We visit the National Library to see sheet music of the day and from the UCD folklore collection we hear Elizabeth Cronin’s version of ‘The Lass of Aughrim’ which gives us a sense of how the song sounded in 1904. Singer and musician Noel O’Grady, who performs the music of Joyce, shares his rendition of ‘The Lass of Aughrim’ as he plays the part of Bartell D’Arcy and re-creates that moment which froze Gretta on the stairs of 15 Usher’s Island.
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