Penelope's Song

Judith Shatin

About this work:
Penelope’s Song is a tribute to Penelope, Queen of Carthage and wife of Odysseus. It was inspired by Homer’s epic, the Odyssey, which tells of the travails of Odysseus. He 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 years. It also tells of, Penelope, left waiting for him for all that time, and of the many suitors, filled with greed and arrogance, who tried to woo her in order to become king. To stave them off she devised many 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 Ulysses’ return. This piece sings of her adventures. The electronics were created from a recording of a local weaver working on wooden looms. I processed and shaped these materials, weaving a new sonic fabric. The original version of Penelope’s Song, scored for amplified viola and electronics, was composed for Rozanna Weinberger, who gave the American Premiere in 2004 at TechnoSonics at the University of Virginia.
Version: Amp. Vla and Electronics
Year composed: 2003
Duration: 00:09:30
Ensemble type: Electronic Instruments and Sound Sources:Prerecorded Sound and Live Instrument(s)
Instrumentation: 1 Viola
Instrumentation notes: This version is for amplified viola and electronic playback.

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