Movement 1: Allegro di molto e scherzando
Movement 2: Adagio cantabile
Movement 3: Menuetto: Allegretto
Movement 4: Fuga a 3 soggetti: Allegro
Movement 4: Fuga a 3 soggetto: Allegro
The middle movements of No 6 are, by Haydn’s standards, relatively well behaved. Reverting to the style of the slow movements of Op 9 and Op 17, the E major Adagio cantabile is a soulful aria for first violin, expressively embellished when the first section is repeated, and enriched by dark glints of viola colour. With its gracious succession of four-bar phrases (with the opening phrase repeated to round off the movement—one of Haydn’s beginning-as-ending puns), the minuet is the only one in Op 20 that might, just, be danced. The beautiful, veiled trio is, like that in No 1, literally a trio, though here it is the second violin who is silent while the other three instruments play sotto voce on their lowest string.
from notes by Richard Wigmore © 2011