For No 46, Haydn again turned to a rarely used key, this time B major. The first movement is one of Haydn’s most concise: its first subject is no sooner established than the music briskly moves to F sharp major and a second subject based on the same material. The recapitulation is even more tightly constructed, with the secondary theme emerging from the first after just one four-bar phrase. For his slow movement and the trio to the Minuet, Haydn moves to the tonic minor, though the rest of the symphony revolves around the major. The finale is a remarkable movement: not only does it contain extensive passages in only two parts (invariably the two violin sections), but often the music stops abruptly, or fades out, into one or more bars of silence, then, at the climax, some 34 bars of the Minuet are recalled, before the wittily downbeat coda returns to the music of the Presto.
from notes by Matthew Rye © 1991