From CD #1:
Oft in the Stilly Night
Words by Thomas Moore;
musical arrangement by Sir John Stevenson
This beautiful Thomas Moore song is sung by Stephen's poverty-stricken family as they sit in the dark awaiting their meager supper in A Portrait. The lyrics and melody stir up memories of childhood and departed friends, and makes the persona feel like
...one who treads alone
Some banquet-hall deserted,
Whose lights are fled,...
Stephen, in attempting to dissociate himself from his family and home, is deeply stirred by the song and the unhappy condition of his brothers and sisters, and for a moment he is sorely tempted to remain in Ireland rather than flee to the Continent to pursue his destiny as an artist.
[from CD liner notes, contributed by Prof. Zack Bowen]