The first movement of No 1 exploits the sonorous richness characteristic of string music in C major, founded on the distinctive resonance of the cello’s open C string, not least in the musette-like drones near the beginning. Its narrative is dominated by the boldly plunging opening theme, immediately varied by the first violin (scope here for Tomasini’s fantasy) and later reworked in imitative dialogue as a ‘second subject’. Deep pedal points feature prominently both here and in the minuet, where Haydn plays one of his favourite games: an opening phrase that serves equally well as a closing gesture. The glumly inscrutable trio, in C minor, never comes to a formal close, but instead hovers on the dominant of C, underpinned by yet another cello pedal point. In the beguiling, siciliano-style Adagio the second violin occasionally adds its own voice to the leader’s increasingly ornate serenade. The Presto finale bursts in with an exuberant, leaping theme that Mozart surely remembered in the finale of his ‘Linz’ Symphony, and continues with lively repartee on a sinuous chromatic figure. But whereas in later years Haydn would have exploited the contrapuntal potential of the main theme, here the development is largely given over to toccata-style fireworks for Tomasini.
from notes by Richard Wigmore © 2007