Penelope's Song, inspired by the Odyssey, dramatically combines electronics fashioned from recordings of wood looms with the agile power of the flute.
Composer: Judith Shatin
Penelope’s Song was inspired by Homer’s epic, the Odyssey, the story of the travails of Odysseus, who was away from home for twenty years, first at war in Troy and then, due to the sea-god Poseidon’s wrath, for ten more difficult years. It also tells of his wife, Penelope, Queen of Ithaca, waiting for him, and of the many suitors, filled with greed and arrogance, who tried to woo her so they could become king. To stave them off she devised excuses. In one, she said she would take no suitor until she finished her weaving. But, since she unraveled at night what she wove by day, she made no progress. This piece is a tribute to her, and sings of her own adventures. The electronics were created from recordings of wooden looms. I processed and shaped these, weaving a new sonic fabric. This version of Penelope’s Song was commissioned by, and is dedicated to, Lindsey Goodman. The original was composed for viola, and there are now also versions for violin, cello, clarinet, recorded by clarinetist Andrea Cheeseman; and soprano sax, recorded by Susan Fancher.