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01684 773883

for harp
Goodmusic GM063

Catalogue Number: GM063

ISMN: 9790222281516

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Song of the Pyramid Orchid image
Song of the Pyramid Orchid was written in 1990 and revised in 2015 for Bryn Lewis, then the principal harpist of the Philharmonia Orchestra, now the principal harpist of the London Symphony Orchestra and a Professor of Harp at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. It was the sixteenth to be composed in a projected series of musical portraits of the forty-eight wild orchids of Britain and Ireland, of which there are currently thirty-one written, scored for various instrumental and orchestral forces.
The Pyramid (or Pyramidal) Orchid, Anacamptis pyramidalis, is a familiar sight on chalk and limestone grassland in Southern England, extending upwards to Western Scotland and Ireland and South-East to Eastern Asia, the Mediterranean and North Africa. The orchid takes its name from its neat, conical spike of closely-packed flowers, which range from rich red or cerise to pink - very rarely pure white. The lower labellum is three-lobed with its two upper petals having evolved to be so angled as to act as a guide for the nectar-seeking proboscis of a butterfly.
Taking its cue from the Egyptian Pyramids, the Song of the Pyramid Orchid employs Middle-Eastern type scales as well as referring to a colour coding scheme of harmonies used in all of the orchid portraits. An arch-like melodic fragment heard at the beginning refers to both the faint, sweet perfume of the flowers and the mysteries of the ancient Pyramids. This is expounded upon, but gives way to a chorale-like passage, using harmonies taken from the opening pyramid figuration's 'scale'. Increasingly animated sections fancifully lead up to the flower's pollination, after which the music revisits the more reflective chorale-like passage. Finally, the pyramid figuration makes an appearance which is intended to represent the flower dying back for the winter - ready to flower again the following year. So there is an arch-like structure in the piece, complementing the arch-like pyramid motif.
Duration 7½ minutes

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