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SONG OF THE IRISH LADY'S TRESES ORCHID by Peter Lawson
for flute, oboe, viola and piano
Goodmusic GM065

Catalogue Number: GM065

ISMN: 9790222281530

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Song of the Irish Lady's Tresses Or image
The Song of the Irish Lady’s Tresses Orchid, written in 1987 for Maura and David Presly and Simon Desorgher, was the twelfth to be written in a projected cycle of musical portraits of the forty-eight wild orchids of Britain and Ireland for solo, chamber and orchestral resources.

The Irish Lady’s Tresses Orchid, Spiranthes romanzoffiana, is present in Europe only in Western Scotland, Dartmoor (possibly now extinct there) and in Western and Northern Ireland. It’s main distribution, however, is in the Northern states of the US and in Southern Canada - yet more evidence that Europe and North America were once joined up. There are also uncorroborated reports of it growing in the far East of Russia. The plant has three spiral rows of about seven creamy flowers on each row (the 'tresses’), which have a vanilla or hawthorn scent. It grows in wet ground by lochs and in wettish meadowland on slightly acid soils, flowering in late July and throughout August. Its principal threat appears to be the drainage of potential sites by humans and being eaten by cattle, sheep and particularly horses, who appear to regard it as a tasty delicacy.

The piece is in binary form, the first part being a representation of the Irish and Scottish habitats (with references to an Irish hornpipe, which many will remember as the theme to 'Captain Pugwash' and to the air 'Slieve na mon'). At one point, the flute, oboe and viola launch into a slightly eerie representation of the three rows of flowers. The second part is, as it were, the ‘Song’ of the orchid itself and is a tranquil paean to the beautiful surroundings in which the orchid is invariably found.
Duration 10 minutes

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