Venus Flytrap: A Joint Recital – October 22, 2012
I composed “Peculiar Plants” for Kenneth Cooper as a contemporary interpretation of the Baroque suite. Because Ken is a harpsichordist, this seemed very appropriate. Instead of each of the movements representing human characters or their dances, I chose plants with unusual characteristics. I began with the “Strangler Fig,” having been fascinated by it when I first saw it in the Everglades in Florida. Next came the “Venus Flytrap” which blurred the distinction between plant and animal because of its carnivorous eating habits, and the garden began to bloom. Ken and I decided to introduce each plant with a brief, humorous poem and we collaborated on all of them, adding to and editing each other’s work. Ken wrote the introduction and was inspirational in all phases of the piece’s creation. He has been tireless in suggesting musical ideas suitable to the harpsichord, in writing hilarious poetry, in meticulous editing of the score and in his brilliant playing which launched the piece’s successful premiere and subsequent performances.