No 17 demonstrates Haydn’s use of the more normal contingent of wind instruments (oboes and horns) in the symphonies of this period. They are still used largely as harmonic filler and in doubling the lines of the violins, while among the strings themselves the thematic interest is very much concentrated in the first violin part with occasional pseudo-contrapuntal interpolations from the lower strings. Despite this relatively unadvanced use of his instrumental contingent, however, Haydn’s use of his motivic material shows him already coming to terms with the rich rewards of true symphonic thinking. In the first Allegro, for example, a patchwork of motifs and short thematic ideas is held together by the constant running quaver movement. The slow movement is a stately, duple-time Andante in the minor mode and again for strings alone, while the finale is a succinct, triple-time Allegro of only some ninety bars.
from notes by Matthew Rye © 1993