Symphony No 23 is a more traditionally structured four-movement work; the instrumentation, too, is the more conventional set-up of oboes, horns and strings. The opening Allegro is dominated by its opening theme, which sounds almost Handelian with its dotted rhythms. The extended Andante, in C major, is for the strings alone, reduced forces that also have the minuet’s canonic trio to themselves. The Finale is a sonata movement, with Haydn’s favourite ‘hunting’ mode of six-eight rhythms speeded up into a veritable perpetuum mobile, and an early instance of the composer’s humourous bent displaying itself in the surprisingly inauspicious conclusion—the music just fades away into a pianissimo pizzicato chord.
from notes by Matthew Rye © 1994