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01684 773883

Peter Lawson
for Flute and Piano
Goodmusic GM242

Catalogue Number: GM242

ISMN: 9790222308060

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Flute Sonata image
Subtitled A Portrait of the Greater Butterfly Orchid, this sonata is the forty-seventh 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. There is an orchestrated version with an identical solo part, published separately as Flute Concerto (GMCO164).
The Greater Butterfly Orchid, Platanthera chlorantha, is a robust plant, up to half a metre tall. It has two large, oval leaves on opposite sides of the stem, slightly staggered in height. Higher up, its leaves are more like sheathing bracts. The lateral petals spread out, like the wings of a butterfly, with the lower lip vaguely resembling the abdomen. It is pollinated in the evening by moths brushing the anthers on to both sides of their backs and in the process pollinating the next flower visited.
The Flute Sonata has three movements, the first, The Song of the Greater Butterfly Orchid, is in modified Sonata form, with new material, in the form of a Reverie, replacing the first part of the development section. This leads to a recapitulation of the second subject (march-like) before, rather than after, the first subject. A cadenza leads to a brief coda. The second movement, Woodland Glades, in ternary form, is rhapsodic in nature, with moments of birdsong filtering through the trees into the music. The third movement, Toccata of the Butterfly Seeds, is something of a light-hearted perpetuum mobile, with fugal elements representing the dust-like seeds being dispersed by the wind, some falling on stony ground and in odd places, where the harmonic language briefly becomes more unpredictable. Just before the end, there is an interval of respite and repose, in a brief Andantino grazioso section, before the hustle and bustle resumes and leads to a rousing finish. Peter Lawson

Duration 16½ minutes

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