Kyle Hartman

Journey of Odysseus

Alternative title
το ταξίδι του Οδυσσέα
Kyle Hartman
Kyle Hartman
Classical / Symphonic music
Violin, Viola, Cello, Double bass
Scored for
String orchestra
Type of score
Full score
A major
Year of composition

As the title, suggests, the inspiration for this piece came from Homer’s epic poem, “The Odyssey.” The “movements”, titled in Greek, are unconventionally played without any breaks or pauses in between to give an almost exhausting sense of motion, which parallels the difficult journey that Odysseus took on his way back to his wife Penelope. While my knowledge of string instruments is quite limited, I attempted to add phrasing and idiomatic techniques (sul tasto, au natural, pizzicato, etc.) to achieve unique effects. The canon represents the emptiness and loneliness felt by both Odysseus and Penelope after the Trojan War. In the shift from the opening, I wanted to build lots of anticipation for a grand, sweeping melody that finally appears in m. 54, representing the tradition and grandeur of Greek storytelling. The cellos play the “suitors” theme as a commentary on the tragic circumstances that Penelope is faced with in Ithaca. Measure 100 marks a noticeable harmonic shift as Odysseus returns and soon realizes the state of things. Rhythmic and harmonic elements from the “Tales of Victory” section stir up more anticipation that drives towards an extended combination of multiple previous themes in multiple keys. Odysseus emerges triumphant in battle against the suitors and m. 166 harkens back to the opening canon, this time representing joyful and passionate love as Odysseus is reunited with Penelope. Starting at m. 176, I attempted to reference every melodic idea used in the piece to again build the anticipation of a climactic ending. Measure 203 and 208 are happier, louder references to the opening canon and measure 209 (hopefully) surprises the audience with its rather extreme harmonic shift. This alludes to the prophecy by Tiresias that Odysseus has yet to complete his journey. The final chord is purposely unresolved for the same reason.

Upload date
07 Mar 2014


Sheet music file including a license for a limited number of performances, limited to one year.
10.00 USD
PDF, 767.0 Kb (28 p.)
Will be available soon


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