This page includes audio recordings of LAWRENCE DURRELL reading his own work and discussing his life and work.
The following is a recording of an informal music session which was eventually recorded in London in 1970. Durrell had conceived the idea of a musical titled “Ulysses Come Back” in the late 1960s and wrote to Henry Miller: “I have three smashing songs for a musical about Ulysses which I’m writing from sheer boredom”. The following year he wrote again to Miller: “I have half written my musical and at last found a musician eager to collaborate on it; who knows, we might get it on! It would make me laugh…” The musician in question was Wallace Southam, a music producer with whom Durrell had already recorded his poems “In Arcadia”, “Lesbos”, “Nothing is lost, sweet self” on Bernard Stone’s Turret Books label, “Contemporary Poets set to music”.
“I think it’s funny and good in parts” he told Miller, and sent him a copy. Miller replied in October 1970. “I began laughing when I heard your opening. Somehow you reminded me of good old Noel Coward., whom I used to put down, but whom I have come to admire, even adore after seeing him on TV several times in long interviews. It’s a jolly good attempt, this sketch, as you call it. Must have been fun to do.”
Durrell himself sang the recitative, Belle Gonzalez sang the female parts, with Pat Smythe (who wrote the music for “Lesbos” – published in 1967 by OUP) on piano and Jeff Clyne on bass.
The disc (in an edition of 99 copies) is extremely rare, selling for very high prices.
The recording posted here is not the disc itself, but is believed to be a “rehearsal” for the disc (the source is obscure). It’s in two parts: regrettably the sound quality on the second part is not as good as the first”
Text: the following (copyright Estate of Lawrence Durrell) is the text accompanying the limited edition of the LP:
2 thoughts on “Audio gallery”
Richard, many thanks for the valuable material. I printed out the nine pages of “Ulysses Come Back” you provided above. Assuming I may want to refer to this text in an essay, how would I cite it? By referring to the limited edition of the LP (1970)? Best, Bruce
I found the answer. Thomas Brigham in his excellent “Lawrence Durrell: An Illustrated Checklist” (Carbondale: Southern Illinois UP, 1983) cites as ULYSSES COME BACK (London: Turret Records, 1970). Brigham also notes, “With booklet containing the synopsis and lyrics, numbered and signed by Durrell, who also painted the design for the record sleeve.” BR