• Kenneth Leighton
  • Sonata for Four Hands (1985)

  • Novello & Co Ltd (World)
  • Piano duet
  • 24 min

Programme Note

Kenneth Leighton: Sonata Op. 92
(commissioned by Richard Markham and David Nettle with financial assistance from West Midland Arts)

The medium of two pianists at one keyboard is a very difficult one simply because, without 'doubling' for a good deal of the time, the texture can become over-complicated. However this piece is an attempt to compose a major work for a medium which has often been thought of mainly as a kind of household hobby or as a means for transcription. The work is in three movements and the musical thought is symphonic. The first movement (based entirely on the opening motive) goes through a series of paragraphs which eventually culminate in an extended melodic line played entirely by the treble player. The middle movement is a playful Scherzo with a rather sardonic waltz for its Trio. The slow movement (which comes last) is much more relaxed and concentrates on a D major motive with sharpened fourths, but the more intense moods of the first movement return in a suddenly impassioned middle section. A kind of equilibrium is arrived at in the final section with its contrapuntal strands and entirely diatonic approach.