• Hugh Wood
  • Trio, Op. 3 (1961)

  • Chester Music Ltd (World)

Commissioned by the John Lewis Partnership

  • fl/pf/va
  • 12 min

Programme Note

I can't remember how this particular combination was hit upon. Maybe it was to fit in with an already existing array of instruments at the concert of its first performance; or maybe that concert programme was built around this odd ensemble. The latter seems more likely: for its only predecessor known to me is an early 18th century sonata by Leclair (and that with 'keyboard' I suppose). Certainly the Leclair was also played at this piece's premiere concert. That came about through a commission by the John Lewis Partnership, and took place on 5 December 1961 at their Oxford Street Auditorium, the players being William Bennett on the flute, Patrick Ireland on the viola and Susan Bradshaw at the piano.

There are two movements. The first works by the alternation of contrasting sections - vigorous, then lyrical - which are both very brief on their first appearance, until a brief statement of the original opening Vivace ends the movement.

The second movement is a set of eight variations. Variation V is a kind of reprise of the theme: thereafter the variations take the form of cadenzas - first for piano, then for flute, then for viola, in duet with flute. The quiet final section is a contemplative reprise not only of the variation theme, but one in which you can also hear the main themes of the first movement as well.

Hugh Wood