People talk of my influence on my daughter, but what about her influence on me?
– James Joyce, 1934
FRAGMENTS OF LUCIA is a solo guitar performance by Joseph Chester of his highly-acclaimed album LUCIA, a suite of 10 pieces inspired by fragments of the life of Lucia Joyce.
Joseph Chester is a multi award-nominated songwriter, composer and musician whose albums have featured in the books ‘101 Irish Albums You Must Hear Before You Die’ by Tony Clayton-Lea, ‘Buried Treasure’ by Dan Hegarty and in The Sunday Times list of the best Irish albums of all time.
Lucia Joyce (daughter of James Joyce) spent 47 years in institutions as a result of mental illness, including long periods in isolation. She died in the notoriously cruel St. Andrew’s asylum, Northampton at the age of 75. And yet, in her youth she had shown enormous potential as a dancer and illustrator. Over the course of two years, Chester took ten key moments from the life of Lucia Joyce. Ten facts of her existence and composed a piece of music for each, to pay tribute to her, to bear witness to her and in some fantastical, imaginary way, let her speak.
The Paris Times wrote that, “James Joyce may yet be known as his daughter’s father.” Some say she was a muse for Finnegans Wake. Her father described her as, “A fantastic being with a mind as clear and unsparing as the lightning.” However, after undergoing tests, she was diagnosed with schizophrenia and was committed in 1936. She would never know freedom again.
In removing conjecture, he draws closer to the heart of his subject matter, each classical guitar track conjuring up images of the dancer in flow.The Sunday Times
By any standards this is an extraordinary piece of work.
No More Workhorse
Deft and well-considered, the work spins and soars. An elegant discordant gem. The guitar cascades, dances and flies.
The Irish Times
The music— ornate and elegant — flits from spry to haunting. A quietly beautiful triumph.
The Irish Independent
The Irish Daily Mail
A stunning tribute. A work of art, to use Joyce’s own words, so beautiful and sad that it speaks to every “soul’s incurable loneliness.”
Sunday Times Culture
LUCIA is a stunning thing.
Donal Fallon, Three Castles Burning
Nuvoluccia in her Lightdress is beautiful. The whole thing is a beautiful piece of work.
BBC Classical Connections
Poignant and uplifting.
Sean Rocks, RTE
“It is the silence that hangs above each of Chester’s emotive soundscapes that is most telling. It reminds us of how silent we have been towards those living with mental health disorders.”– The Sunday Times
Running time 70 mins