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

01684 773883

for four players on two pianos [score and parts]
Goodmusic GM086

Catalogue Number: GM086

ISMN: 9790222286306

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Song of the Lizard Orchid image
The Song of the Lizard Orchid , written in 2012 for the double piano duet team Piano 40 for a Purcell Room concert, is the 29th to be written of a projected cycle of musical portraits of the 48 wild orchids of the British Isles and Ireland for various chamber and orchestral ensembles.

The Lizard Orchid (Himantoglossum hircinum) is extremely rare in Britain. The plant is tall - with a raggle-taggle spike of dozens of opulent greenish-white flowers which have a long twisted lower lip resembling a lizard’s tongue, marked with lines and dots of a pinkish or reddish purple. The flowers have a positively foul smell of old billy goats. The leaves quickly turn brown and make the plant look half dead from a distance.

Throughout the music, the colours are depicted by colour-coded harmonies: green for the leaves and parts of the flowers, blue for the sky above, white for the clouds and the whitish-green of the tongue of the lizard, purple, red and pink for the markings on the tongue, gold for the pollinia and brown for the dead leaves. These eight colours are heard together to form a huge black discord at the outset (the smell of billy goat!) and are then introduced one by one in layers by the eight hands of the players as tongue-like rhythmic motifs. When they are all playing together, they are at their most discordant (and foetid!) but they one by one change into blue. There is a short interruption for a lizard motif and then the blue layers continue, changing gradually to green, white, purple and red, suddenly becoming pink, then gold and brown. The return of the lizard motif ushers in a short, calmer, second movement, once again layered, with echoes of the first movement creeping back in. The lizard motif reoccurs for the third and final time, heralding a spirited dance-like finale culminating in the reappearance of the black (smelly!) chord at which the orchid dies back for the winter. Peter Lawson

Duration 8 minutes

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