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SONG OF THE SLENDER-LIPPED HELLEBORINE by Peter Lawson
for violin and guitar
Goodmusic GM072

Catalogue Number: GM072

ISMN: 9790222281882

Song of the Slender-lipped Hellebor image
The Song of the Slender-Lipped Helleborine, for violin and guitar, was written in 1983 for the violinist Stephen Bentley-Klein, who took part in its first performance. It was the third to be written in a series of musical portraits - for various instrumental combinations - of the wild orchids of Great Britain and Ireland, of which there are forty-eight.

The Slender-Lipped (or Narrow-Lipped) Helleborine, Epipactis leptochila, was first separated out from its commoner relative, Broad-Leaved (or Common) Helleborine, in 1921, though it is still regarded by some as a subspecies of it. However, the plant differs from its relative by being largely self-pollinating and visually in having a long, sharply-pointed lower lip. It usually lacks the rosy hue of Broad-Leaved Helleborine, but sometimes retains a pink flush; generally, though, it is entirely green. Like its close relative, it is robust - up to 60 cms in height, grows in clumps of up to six spikes and one spike can bear as many as twenty-five flowers. It is rather rare in all of its locations and grows in deciduous woods on calcareous or sandy soils, favouring beechwoods. Its distribution in the British Isles is generally confined to the South East, but has been found as far West as Devon. Abroad, it appears to be confined to Europe but has been recorded widely from Denmark to Greece.

The Song of the Slender-Lipped Helleborine is in ternary form with the outer sections representing the cathedral-like serenity of its typical beechwood habit. The middle section, with its more animated dialogue between the violin and the guitar, represents the detailed physiognomy of the plant.
Duration 8 minutes

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