Composer Sarah Kirkland Snider combines the worlds of classical, pop and jazz on her 10-song cycle Penelope. Originally composed with playwright Ellen McLaughlin as a music-theater piece, the work comes alive under the voice of Shara Worgen of My Brightest Diamond and chamber orchestra Signal.
Penelope is inspired by Homer’s Epic Poem “The Odyssey.” The musical tale is told from the perspective of a wife whose husband appears at her door after an absence of 20 years, suffering from posttraumatic stress syndrome due to years of being a solider at war. Penelope, the wife, reads him “The Odyssey” and in the journey of that book, she finds a way into her former husband’s psyche and brings him back to who he was. Penelope’s timing is eloquent. The story is a hopeful one for so many American women who have husbands returning from Iraq and Afghanistan different men from when they left.
Using chamber orchestra, electric guitar, electric bass, percussion, harp and electronics, Penelope is a genre busting musical painting. Snider is comfortable to embrace any musical style that best progresses her tale. Haunting, yet beautiful, Penelope takes the listener on the journey with Penelope and her husband.
The beautiful created CD artwork and booklet sets the tone and presents the project as the fine piece of art that it is.