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Music Publishers - Goodmusic, Roberton Publications & Leslie Music Supply

01684 773883

Peter Lawson
SONG OF THE FLY ORCHID for contrabass and piano
Goodmusic GM192

Catalogue Number: GM192

ISMN: 9790222303447

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Song of the Fly Orchid image
The Song of the Fly Orchid is the thirty-ninth to be written in a cycle of musical portraits of the forty-eight wild orchids of Great Britain and Ireland.
The Fly Orchid, Ophrys insectifera, is arguably the most successful of the Ophrys genus in its imitation of insects, in this case, the common fly, which it so perfectly copies that the plant really does look as if it has a number of flies resting on it. It completes the job by imitating the fly's pheremones, so that the male fly is deceived into pollinating the plant - a process known as pseudo-copulation. The mimicry of the flowers is quite fascinating: the flower's lateral petals look like the fly's antennae, there are two glossy humps at the rear end of the lower lip which look like the eyes of a fly, near to which there is a rectangular-shaped, violet-bluish mirror-like area resembling the fly's folded wings. The plant prefers calcareous soils, where, though never common, it can be fairly plentiful in the first half of June. Although it has a penchant for beechwoods, particularly where there is dappled sunlight filtering through the branches, it can also flower out in open grassland or on limestone pavements.
The Song of the Fly Orchid is in three short movements, the first of which, Insectifera, exploits the buzzing effects which a double bass is particularly able to make, despite it being very much greater in size than the humble fly!
The second movement, The Edge of the Beechwood, is in ternary form, with the outer sections referring to the plant's preferred habitat of dappled shade. The central section depicts the ssp. ochroleuca. A colour-coding scheme of harmonies is employed and this central section uses green and yellow chords, with the outer sections employing violet and dark-brown/magenta hues.
The third movement, Perpetuum Mobile, refers not only to the fly's tendency to buzz around continuously but also to the never-ending cycle of flowering, deceiving flies and producing hundreds of tiny seeds which are carried off into the atmosphere like dust. The music is fugue-like - half-way through which the bass comes up with a second melodic idea, which is confidently pronounced as if launching into a double-fugue, but just at that very moment it is invaded by flies and the music goes completely haywire for a while, before resuming the fugue and ending in jovial spirit. Peter Lawson
Duration 8 minutes

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