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SONG OF THE EARLY SPIDER ORCHID by Peter Lawson
for piano duet
Goodmusic GM172

Catalogue Number: GM172

ISMN: 9790222297562

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Song of the Early Spider Orchid image
The Song of the Early Spider Orchid, for piano duet, was planned in 1988 as the 23rd to be written in a cycle of musical portraits of the 48 wild orchids of Britain and Ireland, but remained very much in embryonic form until rewritten from the start in 2015. It is dedicated to James Kirby and Alan MacLean.
The Early Spider Orchid, Ophrys sphegodes, although it can grow to a height of almost half a metre on the continent, is a small plant from 5cm to 20cm in height in Britain, where it is only found regularly in Kent, Sussex and Dorset on short turf on chalk or limestone grassland. As the name suggests, it flowers much earlier than its much rarer and showy relative, the Late Spider Orchid - from late April until the end of May, as opposed to July in the case of the Late Spider Orchid. On the continent it is in flower from February onwards in the favoured Mediterranean region and can be found as far north as Germany and as far east as Iran.
The Song of the Early Spider Orchid is divided into four movements, which all musically hark back to earlier music such as Bach, in the case of the first two movements, or to the world of earlier piano duet music such as Fauré's Dolly Suite or Debussy's Petite Suite. A personal colour scheme of harmonies is employed as in other orchid portraits.
The first movement, Prelude and Fughetta, sets the scene of pastoral downland, the second, a Minuet in Eb minor (a 'dark-brown' colour) describes the 'spider' from our point of view. The third movement is a Jig using a recurring pattern of 3-in-the-bar followed by two bars of two-in-the bar. This movement is intended to be, fancifully, the actual 'Song' of the Orchid from its own point of view - and at the beginning, seven colours from the orchid itself and its surroundings are heard in quick succession. As the movement develops, there is a stuttering section of pauses as various insects are unsuccessful in pollinating the plant. Finally one is successful! The fourth movement, Finale, a gallop alternating with a waltz, depicts the thousands of orchid seeds being merrily scattered for the wind to carry off to pastures new. Peter Lawson
Duration 8½ minutes

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