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LAWSON, Peter (1951- )
SONG OF THE DUNE HELLEBORINE for treble recorder and piano
Roberton 95527

Catalogue Number: 95527

ISMN: 9790222266407

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Song of the Dune Helleborine image
The Song of the Dune Helleborine, for treble recorder and piano, was written for John Turner in 2005 and first performed by him in the Bridgewater Hall in 2006. It is the twenty-seventh in a projected series of musical portraits of the forty-eight wild orchids of Great Britain and Ireland.
The Dune Helleborine, Epipactis dunensis, is a very rare orchid with a North-West European distribution. In Great Britain, it is restricted to coastal regions of Anglesey, Lancashire and Northumberland. The plant grows in stabilised sand dunes and it is at its most lush and robust when growing under pine trees in Lancashire. Otherwise, it is a more stunted and less colourful version of its nearest relative, Epipactis helleborine (Common, or Broad (-leaved) Helleborine). The flowers (up to about twenty on each plant) tend to be greener, with less infusions of pink than Common Helleborine and the flowering period is about a month earlier.
The work opens with the juxtaposition of arpeggiated chords representing both the green and pink colours of the flowers and the nature of the habitat of the plant - the shifting sands of the dunes and the salty, windswept vista.
The short piece is loosely in sonata form - the first and second subjects respectively corresponding to our perception of the orchid in its environment and the song of the orchid itself, stripped of human connotations. Following a turbulent development section, the two elements fuse in recapitulation. The orchid, which has only been observed to self-pollinate, sets seed in the coda and withers as the summer fades and colder weather sets in.

Duration: 6½ minutes

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