Symphony No 86 is one of the most harmonically adventurous of the set. The Adagio introduction is straightforward enough, but the Allegro’s first main theme only arrives at the tonic key by way of an aside alluding to a more distant tonality, a ploy that gives Haydn plenty of scope for quick modulations in the development section. The slow movement—unusually named Capriccio—continues tendency towards chromaticism, with passages of a poignancy worthy of Mozart.
The Minuet sees Haydn introducing elements of sonata form, particularly the more developmental procedures, into the standard tripartite dance structure. The finale is another characteristically witty rondo.
from notes by Matthew Rye © 1994