Penelope’s Song (Viola + electronics)


Instrumentation: Amplified viola and electronic playback
Duration: 9:00
Premiere: 9/17/03
Laura Wilcox
Musica Viva Festival, Coimbra, Portugal

Program Note:
Penelope’s Song was inspired by Homer’s epic, the Odyssey, which is about 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 weaving a shroud for her husband’s aged father, Laertes. But, since she unraveled at night what she wove by day, she made no progress. Instead, she actively waited for Odysseus’ return. This piece is a tribute to her, and sings of her own adventures. The electronics were created from a recording I made of local weaver Jan Russell working on wooden looms. I processed and shaped these materials, weaving a new sonic fabric. The original version of Penelope’s Song was composed for and edited by violist Rozanna Weinberger, who performed the American premiere at the University of Virginia in March, 2004.

Press Quote:
“Judith Shatin’s Penelope’s Song is inspired by the story of Odysseus’ wife, Penelope, who, while waiting for her husband’s return, spent two decades weaving at her loom and keeping at bay numerous suitors who wished to supplant him. Musically depicting Penelope’s determination, faith and despair, it was written for and performed by violist Rozanna Weinberger with an electronic accompaniment based on the steady, repetitious sound of wooden looms…The work, receiving its U.S. premiere, was dramatic and effective.”
Charlottesville Weekly

Penelope's Song (Viola + electronics)
Product Options
#OptionPriceDownloadFile Size
1Download .pdf and Electronics$12.95Penelopes-Song-Viola-Download 1.39MB
2Score and Electronics CD$19.95
3Score, Electronics CD and DVD$28.95
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