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Penelopeia (2015)


string quartet no. 3

commissioned by

Rønnebæksholm as part of a composer-in-residence project

Penelopeia (eller Penelope) var ifølge græsk mytologi datter af Ikaros og gift med Odysseus.


Under Odysseus' 20 år lange sørejse blev hun hjemme på øen Ithaka, hvor hun tålmodigt ventede på sin mand og stod for opdragelsen af deres søn Telemachos.


Penelopeia var attraktiv og ombejlet; men hun var urokkelig i sin troskab mod Odysseus. Sine mange bejlere holdt hun hen med list: først når ligklædet til hendes svigerfar Laërtes var vævet færdigt, ville hun gifte sig igen. Hun vævede flittigt hver dag, men om natten

trevlede hun dagens arbejde op igen.


Til sidst blev hun afsløret af en af sine slavinder, men til alt held vendte Odysseus hjem netop på samme tid, og efter en drabelig kamp med alle bejlerne genforenedes han

med sin trofaste hustru.


Denne kvartet forsøger at fange nogle af de følelser og stemninger, der må have behersket Penelopeia i alle disse mange år: Længsel. Uro. Uvished. Tvivl. Rastløshed. En dagligdag opfyldt af en underligt nytteløs flid og aktivitet uden andet reelt formål end det at holde sig selv og

omverdenen hen.





According to Greek mythology PENELOPEIA (or Penelope) was daughter of Ikaros and married to Ulysses. During Ulysses' 20 years of voyage she stayed back home on the island Ithaka, patiently waiting for her husband while raising their son Telemachos.


She was an attractive woman and lots of young men wooed her. But she was firm in her faith towards Ulysses. Her many suitors were kept away by a cheat: she declared that she would only merry again after having finished a woven shroud for Laërtes, her father-in-law.

She worked hard on the fabric every day, but at night she unraveled all the day's work.


Finally her cheat was revealed by one of her servants, but fortunately Ulysses returned back at the same moment. After a heroic fight against all the suitors, he and Penelopeia were happily reunited.


This string quartet attempts to capture some of the emotions and moods that must have filled Penelopeia through all these yaers. Longing. Unrest. Uncertainty. Doubt. A dayly life occupied by a strange useless diligence and activity with no other purpose than

keeping yourself and your surroundings at a distance.



Partitur og stemmer score and parts

Edition S



The piece is part of the

Olympic Suite