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SONG OF THE TWAYBLADE ORCHID by Peter Lawson
for oboe, oboe d'amore and cor anglais
Goodmusic GM080

Catalogue Number: GM080

ISMN: 9790222284586

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Song of the Twayblade Orchid image
The Song of the Twayblade Orchid, completed in 1983 and dedicated to David Presly, who took part in its first performance in London, was the seventh to be written in a cycle of instrumental and orchestral depictions of the forty-eight wild orchids of Britain and Ireland, of which twenty-nine have been written to date.

The Twayblade Orchid, Twayblade, or Common Twayblade (Listera ovata) is by far the most common European Orchid and is widely distributed throughout Britain and Ireland, only being missing from the Shetlands. Despite its comparative frequency, it is often overlooked, owing to its yellow-green flowers tending to merge into the surrounding grassland. It typically has two large oval leaves opposite each other – hence the name, Twayblade – and these are some way up the stem. The stem continues upwards for some distance on taller plants. After this gap come some 20 to100 or so flowers, which look, fancifully, like little green men with arms and legs created from the perianth segments and the deeply-divided lower lip of the flower. It is pollinated by small flies, beetles and ichneumons who, attracted by the musk-like scent, crawl up the ‘legs’ of the flower, following a nectar channel, only to find that the rostellum explodes on contact, gluing the pollinia to their heads. The frightened insect immediately flies off to another flower and pollination thereby takes place.
The plant has a rather top-heavy, almost comical appearance and it is this somewhat humorous aspect which playfully dominates the first part of the Song of the Twayblade Orchid. After a chorale like interlude, there follows the ‘Song’ of the orchid itself, which takes itself much more seriously. As far as the orchid is concerned, its beauty is unquestioned as it languidly reflects in its idyllic surroundings. Peter Lawson
Duration 10 minutes

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