Skip to content

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

01684 773883

for piano solo
Goodmusic GM140

Catalogue Number: GM140

ISMN: 9790222291195

View Score

Play Audio

Song of the Fen Orchid image
The Song of the Fen Orchid, was written for James Kirby in 1985-6 and revised in 1990 and again in 2012-3. It was the ninth to be written in a projected cycle of musical portraits of the 48 wild orchids of Great Britain and Ireland - for various soloists and for chamber and orchestral ensembles.
The Fen Orchid, Liparis loeselii, can be found - with some difficulty, due to its camouflaged colouring and dainty features - in fens and sand-dune slacks. It is, on closer inspection, a miniature orchid of considerable beauty, with its rather open spike of small creamy flowers clasped near the base of the stalk in a cluster of glossy leaves.
It is distributed widely from North America to Siberia, but is decreasing in many of its habitats, due to the drainage of boggy fenland and by the gradually-evolving nature of the terrain of semi-stabilised dune slacks. This trend is particularly prevalent in Britain, where the plant is now a threatened species in both its fenland haunts in Norfolk and its two maritime habitats in South Wales.
The South Wales form, (var. ovata), is significantly smaller and squatter than the more robust, fenland form. In fact, the Nature Reserve of Kenfig Burrows, near Port Talbot, which has a refreshingly open attitude to conservation - by education rather than secrecy with regard to its precious and vulnerable colony - became the inspiration for the final section of the music.
The Song of the Fen Orchid reflects - in the introduction - the challenges of finding the plant in the first place. This gives way to a scherzo-like section, portraying the delicate, almost intimate, features of the plant in close-up. Then comes the 'Song' of the orchid itself, in which the listener is invited to experience the world as seen, as it were, from the orchid, culminating in an evocation of the majestic irony of the Port Talbot Steelworks - ever looming closer as the site of the orchid is approached. Peter Lawson
Duration 9 minutes
First performed in Almaty, Kazakhstan on 13th May 2015 by James Kirby

Your Basket Close basket

Your basket is empty.