Distant Music
by James Joyce

James Joyce - Distant Music

BBC Radio 4

Broadcast: Monday 26th December 1994

Dublin, 1903. A professor and part-time book reviewer named Gabriel Conroy attends a Christmastime party thrown by his aunts (Kate and Julia Morkan, grand dames in the world of Dublin music) at which he dances with a fellow teacher and delivers a brief speech. As the party is breaking up, Gabriel witnesses his wife, Gretta, listening to a song sung by the renowned tenor Bartell D'Arcy, and the intensity of her focus on the music causes him to feel both sentimental and lustful. In a hotel room later, Gabriel is devastated to discover that he has misunderstood Gretta's feelings; she has been moved by the memory of a young lover named Michael Furey who preceded Gabriel, and who died for the love of Gretta. Gabriel realises that she has never felt similarly passionate about their marriage. He feels alone and profoundly mortal, but spiritually connected for the first time with others.

Dramatised by Christopher Fitz-Simon from James Joyce's short story, "The Dead", written in 1907, three years after writing the fourteen other short stories that were eventually published with it in 1914, in his collection entitled "Dubliners".

With Dermot Crowley [Gabriel Conroy, a Professor], Catherine Byrne [Gretta Conroy, Gabriel's Wife], Kate Binchy [Aunt Kate Morkan], Maggie Whiting [Aunt Julia Morkan], Liza-Ann McLoughlin [Mary Jane Morkan], Hilary Reynolds [Lily, the Maid], Nigel Anthony [Mr. Browne, a Party Guest], Annabel Mullion [Miss Furlong, a Party Guest], Pauline Delaney [Mrs. Malins, a Party Guest], Mark Lambert [Freddy Malins, a Drunken Party Guest], David Antrobus [Michael Furey, Gretta's first Childhood Love], Marcella Riordan [Molly Ivors, a Fellow Professor], and Ian Masters [Mr. Bartell D'Arcy, a Famous Tenor].

Piano played by Mary Nash.

Directed by Peter Kavanagh.

Re-broadcast on BBC Radio 4: The Saturday Play on Saturday 17th October 1998 @ 3:00 p.m. as "The Dead" (title of the original story).

90 minutes.


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