The third trio dedicated to Rebecca Schroeter, Hob XV:26, is in the unusual key of F sharp minor, and is subtle and shifting in its moods. The quiet opening of the first movement is tinged with melancholy, but it soon moves into cheerful major keys, and despite occasional touches of sadness the overall mood is quite flamboyant. The tricky turns of phrase in the piano-writing show that Mrs Schroeter must have been an accomplished pianist. The slow movement is the same as that for Haydn’s Symphony No 102, though in a different key, and is often described as an adaptation of the orchestral original. But the music is delicately florid and rather improvisational in style, with sudden shifts of key and atmosphere. These sound more at ease in the intimate setting of a trio, suggesting that the trio version may well have been written first. The finale is in the manner of a minuet—a style of finale made popular by J C Bach. Haydn takes this idea and makes something intensely personal out of it. It is like a wistful memory of a dance, rather than the dance itself, with a melancholy elegance which is as subtly balanced in mood as the first movement.
from notes by Robert Philip © 2009