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Music Publishers - Goodmusic, Roberton Publications, Bardic Edition & Leslie Music Supply

01684 773883

for piano
Goodmusic GM064

Catalogue Number: GM064

ISMN: 9790222281523

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Song of the Violet Helleborine image
The Song of the Violet Helleborine, written in 1987 for Philip Fowke, is the thirteenth in a projected cycle of musical portraits of the forty-eight wild orchids of Britain and Ireland, for various solo, chamber and orchestral combinations.

The Violet Helleborine, Epipactis purpurea, is a very localised plant, confined in Britain to South East England, mainly in clumps in beech woods. In Europe, it has a central and Northern distribution and has been reported as far East as Western Siberia. The plant, which can grow up to a metre tall, while unspectacular from a distance, is most attractive at closer range - the flowers are reddish-green, in a tightly-packed raceme with long bracts, giving the spike a leafy appearance. The leaves and stems are suffused with violet, a distinguishing feature from which the plant takes its name. It flowers about two weeks later, in August, than its commoner close relative, the Broad Helleborine and has adapted itself to be pollinated by wasps, which are prevalent in the late summer. Its nectar contains a yeast fungi which causes the wasp to be intoxicated with alcohol and less able to scrape off pollen, thus facilitating pollination when the wasp moves to another plant.

The music uses the same colour-coding of harmonies as in the other orchid portraits. The piece is in binary form, the first section depicting the outward appearance of the plant to ourselves, a riot of subtle colours - delicate and tender at times, becoming increasingly intoxicated as pollination takes place. A chorale-like transition leads to the song of the orchid itself, in which motifs from the first section can be heard again, but serenely this time, as it were through the eyes of the orchid.
Duration 12 minutes

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