Three Part Invention


Duration: 12′


for violin and piano

Commissioned by the Hampstead and Highgate Festival with funds provided by the John S Cohen Foundation

First performance: 12 May 2006, Alexandra Wood, Huw Watkins/Christ Church, Hampstead, London, UK

Published by Boosey & Hawkes. Click here for more information.


“…a free-flowing fantasy for violin, with piano sometimes egging it on, sometimes trying to calm things down … the nicely turned ending, half-quizzical, half-ironic, retained the element of surprise.”

(Nick Kimberley, Evening Standard)

“…the work became ever louder, faster and more impassioned, with powerful theatrical impact. A successful and mind-lingering piece.”

(Kenneth Carter, Classical Source)

“…[the recital] included Lloyd Moore’s haunting ‘Three Part Invention’…”

(John Rushby-Smith, Hereford Times)

Programme Note

The title of this piece, written in 2005 to a commission from the Hampstead & Highgate Festival, refers not only to the number of instrumental ‘parts’ involved (i.e. the violin and the two hands of the piano), but also to the fact that it is in three clearly defined sections which run continuously.

In writing the piece, I consciously set out to try and obtain the maximum out of a deliberately limited amount of harmonic and melodic source material – thus everything that happens in the work grows out of the three ‘bell-like’ chords (each of which contains three notes) heard on the piano at the outset. This is followed by a brief ‘quasi-cadenza’ for the violin alone, a somewhat agitated moto perpetuo with a slower contrasting middle section and a final section of scherzando character.

Over and above these technical concerns, however, my aim was to write a piece of great energy, challenging the stamina and virtuosity of both performers while remaining (hopefully!) aurally coherent and grateful to play.