Nick Roth Music

Orchidées (2017)

for solo cello

“The flower longs with its petals

and thought descends upon the flower.”

Alexander Vvedensky, The Gray Notebook (1932)


Orchidées is a study of the genus Orchidaceae, dedicated to cellist Kate Ellis and developed in collaboration with geneticist Aoife O’Driscoll, botanical photographer Thomas Balaÿ and olfactory artists Marcel van Brakel and Frederik Duerinck (Polymorf).

The Orchidaceae (commonly known as the Orchid) form the world’s most diverse family of flowering plant, endemic to almost every geographical terrain found on Earth – from tropical rainforest to arid desert, from marshy boglands to Antarctic tundra. Driven by a formal investigation into the extreme genetic mutability of orchid DNA, the composition inquires what this extraordinary responsiveness to environmental conditions can teach us about survival in a rapidly changing world with its web of ever-increasing ecological complexity.

The compositional translation process includes exploring the gene expressions controlling flower architecture, specifically perianth and labellum formation. At a formal level, the work also explores the evolution of the angiosperms over >250 million years and the cyclical flowering processes (seed, germination, growth, reproduction, pollination) which are conserved across all species.