Penelope’s Dream

Instrumentation: Cello
Duration: 8:00
Premiere: 6/18/06
Tanya Anisimova
Chamber Hall of the Moscow Conservatory
Moscow, Russia

Purchase Music

Program Note:
Penelope’s Dream is one of a family of pieces inspired by the story of Penelope in Homer’s epic, the Odyssey. This epic tells the story 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, who waited faithfully 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 to return. The original piece in the series, Penelope’s Song, is scored for amplified viola and electronics made from a recording I made of a woman weaving on wooden looms. That piece was premiered at Musica Viva in Coimbra, Portugal in 2003. Like the original, Penelope’s Dream is a tribute to Penelope and sings of her adventures. The idea of weaving can be found in the motivic design of the first and third sections, while the middle section finds her dreaming about her situation. The final section also expresses her triumph over the obstacles she encounters. I am grateful to Tanya Anisimova for her editorial suggestions and for the pleasure of working with her.–JS

Share This

Copy Link to Clipboard