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01684 773883

Peter Lawson
for bassoon and piano
Goodmusic GM186

Catalogue Number: GM186

ISMN: 9790222302907

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Song of the Small Tongue Orchid image
The Song of the Small Tongue Orchid is the thirty-fourth to be written in a cycle of musical portraits of the forty-eight wild orchids of Great Britain and Ireland - for various instrumental and orchestral combinations.
The Serapias or Tongue orchids, named after the Greek-Egyptian god, Serapis, have a strangely middle-eastern look to them with the sepals forming a hood above each flower on the spike, resembling Arabic head-gear. Moreover the keeled nature of these hoods on the flower-cluster fancifully look as if they are, performing some sort of dance. The lower lip of each flower is triangular, rather large and pointing downwards, like a tongue. The flowers range from orange to vermillion to magenta and the sepals are pink to red to magenta, with dark magenta stripes down them. The arrangement of the pollinia is such as to give the appearance of two dark magenta eyes and a nose looking out of a slit not unlike that on an organ pipe - from which one can make a tenuous link to the bassoon! Although the distribution of Serapias orchids in general is strongly Mediterranean, they extend southwards to the Canary Islands and north-east to the Caucasus region. Serapias parviflora has a more Westerly distribution but is spreading fairly quickly, so it may well one day reach south-western Russia.
The Song of the Small Tongue Orchid consists of four short movements which, in places, employ a colour-coding system, used in the other orchid portraits, whereby certain colours are represented by certain harmonies. The first movement, Misterioso, starts with these colours, but soon there are mysterious hints of the middle-east in melodic shapes. This is very much more pronounced in the second movement, Intermezzo: Dance of the Seeds, which builds gradually to an almost manic degree as the pace quickens and the key-centres rise chromatically. The third movement, Minuetto, is a wistful reference to the plant extending northwards up the French coast to Britain and maybe one day to Russia, with a hint of Borodin as well as Debussy. The fourth movement, Scherzo, returns to the colour-coded harmonies and brings the work to a rumbustious conclusion in jovial mood. Peter Lawson
Duration 7 minutes

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