Movement 1: Andante
Movement 2: Allegro 'Jacob's Dream'
After the liberation of the first movement, the violin never looks back. But the reason is partly to be found in the origin of the second movement, which Haydn wrote first. This jaunty Allegro in E flat major has in the autograph a heading which Haydn later scratched out: ‘Sonata Jacob’s Dream by Dr Haydn’. This refers to a story in the Book of Genesis, in which Jacob sleeps: ‘And he dreamed, and behold a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven: and behold the angels of God ascending and descending on it.’ Perhaps Haydn deleted the title because he feared that it might be thought inappropriate to give a religious reference to what was, in origin, a practical joke. Albert Christoph Dies, who interviewed the composer several times in his old age and published Biographical Accounts of Joseph Haydn in 1810, tells us that in London Haydn got to know a German violinist ‘who had acquired the technique almost of a virtuoso; but had the terrible habit of spending a lot of time stumbling about in the highest register. Haydn decided to make an attempt to put the amateur off his atrocious habit’. According to Dies, Haydn sent ‘Jacob’s Dream’ anonymously to Therese Jansen, who tried it out with the German violinist, with hilarious consequences. Haydn had peppered the movement with virtuoso violin writing, echoing the virtuosity of the piano part, and ending with passages that are both high and impossibly fast. The two movements of the Trio were unpublished for several years, but eventually appeared in print in Vienna in 1803, with a dedication to Magdalena von Kurzböck, an admired Viennese pianist and composer.
from notes by Robert Philip © 2009