Penelope’s Song (Clarinet)

Instrumentation: Amplified clarinet and electronics
Duration: 9:07
Premiere: 7/26/2019
Andrea Cheeseman
James Cox Auditorium – Alumni Memorial Building
Appalachian State University
Boone, NC

Program Note:
Penelope’s Song is a tribute to Penelope, Queen of Ithaca and wife of Odysseus. It was inspired by Homer’s Odyssey, which tells of the travails of Odysseus, of his ten years at war in Troy, and then, due to the sea-god Poseidon’s wrath, for another ten. Scant attention is paid to Penelope, left waiting for all that time, with many greedy and arrogant suitors attempting to woo her to become king. To stave them off she devised excuses. 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. This piece sings of her, giving voice to her experience and response to her own challenges. I created the electronics from recordings I made of Charlottesville weaver Jan Russell working on her wooden looms. I processed and shaped these, weaving a new sonic fabric, and then treated the acoustic and digital elements as warp and weft of a new tapestry. Originally composed for viola and electronics, this version was commissioned by and is dedicated to Andrea Cheeseman who recorded it on her album Somewhere. Additional versions exist for flute, soprano sax, violin, viola, and cello. – JS

Press Quote:
“…the piece exhibits a vivid and attractive personality, giving good evidence of Shatin’s musical imagination.” –Fanfare

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