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Music Publishers - Goodmusic, Roberton Publications & Leslie Music Supply

01684 773883

for piano solo
Goodmusic GM175

Catalogue Number: GM175

ISMN: 9790222299160

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Song of the Autumn Lady's Tresses image
This work was written for the pianist Yuki Matsuzawa in November 2015. It is the thirty-second to be composed in a projected series of musical portraits of the forty-eight wild orchids of Great Britain and Ireland - for various instrumental and orchestral combinations.
The Autumn Lady's Tresses, Spiranthes spiralis, is the last to flower of the orchids of Britain and Ireland and can be found on ancient pastureland in short turf on chalk and limestone, on infrequently-mown lawns and near the sea - in mid-August to the end of September. It is the daintiest of the three of its genus, normally up to 15cms high and has up to twenty white flowers on each spike arranged in a tight spiral resembling plaits of lady's hair. It has bluish-green, shiny leaves in a basal rosette, which is withered at the time of flowering, but next to the flowering spike is next year's rosette. The stem, also bluish-green, is covered with silvery hairs.
The Song of the Autumn Lady's Tresses Orchid uses a colour-coded scheme of harmonies, as in other orchid portraits. It is in three short movements, the first, Study in Spirals, was inspired not only by the spiralling inflorescence of the orchid, but by Yuki Matsuzawa's brilliant recordings of Chopin's Etudes - where one particular figuration can dominate an individual piece. Here, the figurations are a short upward arpeggio with a wiggle or spiral-shaped downward path, a bit like a tendril. The second movement is a simple air, mainly pentatonic and therefore suggestive of the music of Ireland, where the orchid luxuriates on the Burren, in County Clare. Harmonisation is more chromatic in nature and has a whiff of the America of the cowboy era, whose music-making was heavily influenced by the folk songs of the Irish settlers. After the opening stanza, the melody is accompanied by spiral figurations. The third movement, Minuet, refers to the dainty nature of the plant, with its frills and spirals and harmonies more French in nature - the orchid is particularly frequent in coastal areas of Brittany and Provence. Peter Lawson
Duration 7 minutes

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