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01684 773883

for five flutes
Goodmusic GM069

Catalogue Number: GM069

ISMN: 9790222281868

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Song of the Military Orchid (5xFls) image
The Song of the Military Orchid, for five flutes, was written in 1982 for Simon Desorgher, who subsequently broadcast it on Radio 3, playing the first flute against the other four flutes, which he had pre-recorded. It was the second to be written in a series of musical portraits of the forty-eight wild orchids of Britain and Ireland for various combinations from solo instruments to orchestral forces.

The Military or Soldier Orchid, Orchis militaris, is widely distributed from Sweden and Southern Siberia in the North to the Mediterranean region in the South. In England, it was, in the mid nineteenth century fairly frequent in the Chiltern Hills, with sites in Kent and Surrey. Because of its robust, flamboyant appearance, it suffered from picking and changes in land usage and techniques, became increasingly rare and was thought to be extinct for about twenty years until a colony was found in a Buckinghamshire wood in 1947, followed by a large colony in Suffolk in 1954. The orchid’s name derives from the lower lip with its two rows of reddish-purple spots on a pink background resembling a soldier’s buttoned-up tunic, with two lobes for 'arms' and the sepals and two upper petals forming a helmet-like 'hood'. It prefers half shade and typically grows in clearings and at the edges of woods.

In the first part of the Song of the Military Orchid, we hear military-like fanfares on the flutes, which intensify to something of a cacophony. A short cadenza leads to the 'Song' of the orchid itself - rather than our perception of it. The short piece ends with a brief reference to the military motif.
Duration 5½ minutes

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