My third string quartet was commissioned by the Smith Quartet (London) and first performed by them in 1994 at the Brighton Festival. The work more or less disappeared from view until 2000, when the Goldner String Quartet played it at the opening of the Angel Place Recital Hall in Sydney. It was this performance that caught the ear of Richard Tognetti, Artistic Director of the Australian Chamber Orchestra, and he asked whether it could be arranged for his band.
The intention of the original work was to transform four stringed instruments into a single "super" instrument while capitalising on their natural singing qualities. A kind of aural alchemy. I honour the commissioners of the original quartet in renaming the arrangement "Smith's Alchemy".
Although the very structure of the original work was predicated on the techniques used to create certain effects, this remains much the same in the new version for string orchestra, and some parts required little amendment. The potential to "share" difficult techniques across more than one instrument has in many ways liberated the music, allowing greater emphasis on its lyrical qualities.