Penelope’s Song (Flute)

Instrumentation: Amplified flute and electronics
Duration: 9:07
Premiere: 10/06/13
Lindsey Goodman
Elizabeth Pastor Recital Hall
Ashland University
Ashland, OH

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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 Lindsey Goodman, who recorded it on her album Reach Through the Sky. Additional versions exist for clarinet, soprano sax, violin, and viola. – JS

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, this version was written for and is dedicated to Lindsey Goodman.”
Charlottesville Weekly

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