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LAWSON, Peter (1951- )
SONG OF THE NORTHERN MARSH ORCHID for clarinet and piano
Roberton 95523

Catalogue Number: 95523

ISMN: 9790222261501

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Song of the Northern Marsh Orchid image
Written for Kei Itoh and Reiko Isobe for a concert in Japan in 2005, the Song of the Northern Marsh Orchid (a Sonatina for clarinet and piano) is the 26th in a series of musical portraits of the 48 wild orchids of Britain and Ireland, some for solo or chamber groups and some for orchestral forces.
The Northern Marsh Orchid (Dactylorhiza purpurella) is compact, but lush and usually rich magenta in colour. Marsh orchids are rapidly evolving and not easy to pin down and categorise as stable species, but a characteristic of this particular plant is its flat top - as if someone had cut the top third or so off the many-flowered spike. Like all marsh orchids, it has upward-pointing bracts amongst the flower head, which can appear to give it a distinctively eastern appearance. Although this is reflected at times in the music, the distribution of the orchid is, in fact, north-westerly - the furthest east it has been recorded is western Norway and it extends westwards through northern Britain (particularly Scotland) and Ireland to the Faroe Islands.
The music, which particularly owes a debt of gratitude to Poulenc, is in three short inter-connected movements, which are loosely based on a colour-coding scheme of harmonies. Sadly, at the height of its opulence (near the end of the third movement) the plant is pollinated, sets seed and dies down to shelter from the harsh winter. Peter Lawson, 2004
Duration: 8 minutes

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