Commissioned by Susan Bradshaw and Richard Rodney Bennett

  • 2 pf
  • 12 min

Programme Note

Synthesis was written between August and December 1974, and was commissioned by Richard Rodney Bennett and Susan Bradshaw, to whom it is gratefully dedicated. Funds were provided by the Arts Council of Great Britain.

The piece plays continuously for about 13 minutes. The pianos are sharply contrasted in character at the beginning, come into increasingly violent conflict, and eventually, about half-way through, reach some kind of understanding, and begin to share material. The gradual fusion of the two pianos is completed at the end of the piece, where a quiet trill is handed back and forth between them, lightly ornamented by references to earlier material. The idea behind the piece's structure (which translated very naturally into musical terms) is the development of a relationship - whether between two people, tow ideas, or whatever - from a situation of complete non-communication, via irritation and hostility, to a conflict of such violence that some kind of communication is achieved, which is then built on, so that something new is created, and both sides acquire a deeper awareness of each other.

© Giles Swayne