In March 1789, Haydn wrote to Artaria: ‘In a moment of great good humour I have completed a new Capriccio for fortepiano, whose taste, singularity and special construction cannot fail to receive approval from connoisseurs and amateurs alike. It is … rather long, but by no means too difficult.’ The work in question—harder to play than Haydn implied—was the one we know as the Fantasia in C major. Based on an Austrian folksong, Do Bäuren hat d’Katz valor’n
(‘The farmer’s wife has lost her cat’), this madcap 3/8 Presto is a work of scintillating virtuosity, full of quasi-orchestral effects (such as the horn calls in a prominent cadential phrase) that recall the finale of sonata No 48. It is also one of Haydn’s zaniest essays in comic deception, repeatedly leading us to expect one key and then leaping or slinking off in a quite different direction.
from notes by Richard Wigmore © 2009