Tres Poemas de Ítaca for voice and string trio

Performed on March 2nd, 2020 at UVic

I have been fascinated by Greek mythology since I was little, and the program of my BMus graduation recital in 2020 reflected my fascination, incorporating a handful of references to Ancient Greece. Tres Poemas de Ítaca uses text from Francisca Aguirre’s epic poem, and tells the story of Homer’s Odyssey from the perspective of Penelope. She stays, alone, on the island of Ithaca with her son, Telemachus, desperate for a sign that Odysseus will return to keep her suitors at bay. Her sanity is unraveling, yet she is contemplative in her confinement, and her realizations are universally relatable.

Trey Daugherty (b. 1988) is an American composer living in Tennessee where he is active as an organist and voice instructor. His works include the ballet “Appalachian Winter”, “Overture for St. Cecilia Day” for Organ and Orchestra, the cantatas “For He Was King” and “Requiem from the Highlands”, and several works for chamber groups. Trey and I were introduced to one another in Oxford in the summer of 2019. He and I were fast friends, and I became interested in his style of composition after having studied some of his choral works while we were both attending the college that year.

He composed Tres Poemas for this occasion, and I chose the text. Although I don’t speak Spanish fluently, I enjoy the beauty of the language, and I have hardly given myself much opportunity to sing it. I spent hours sitting in the UVic McPherson Library reading (translated) works of female Spanish poets before deciding to select excerpts from Aguirre’s Odyssey-themed collection.

Her entire poem is available online or in paperback format with intermixed English translations by Dr. Ana Valverde Osan.