The first movement of the D major sonata, No 24, in 3/4 time, is an athletic, tautly developed piece, alternating wiry, two-part writing with brilliant toccata sequences. At the start of the development Haydn intensifies the main theme in a series of canonic imitations. The D minor Adagio opens with a dolefully hesitant theme over a Baroque-style repeated-note accompaniment—a peculiarly Haydnesque blend of pathos and austerity—before growing more floridly expressive. Following the example of many of Emanuel Bach’s slow movements, Haydn then lets the music dissolve into the mercurial Presto finale. This takes the form of a gracefully syncopated theme, an airy variation that makes even greater play with syncopation, and what promises to be a reprise of the theme before a pause on an alien chord mischievously derails the listener’s expectations.
from notes by Richard Wigmore © 2007