One of Haydn’s few pre-London sonatas to have entered the popular repertoire is the D major, No 37, from the set of six published by the Viennese firm of Artaria in 1780. The sonatas were dedicated to the talented sisters Franziska and Maria Katherina von Auenbrugger, whose playing in aristocratic salons drew the admiration of both Leopold Mozart—never one to dish out compliments lightly—and Haydn himself. The D major’s popularity is easy to understand. The first movement, with its irrepressible, chirruping main theme, evokes the spirit of Domenico Scarlatti at his most dashing within the dynamic of the Classical sonata style. At the centre of the development Haydn offsets the prevailing mood of jocularity with a powerful sequence of suspensions. The Largo e sostenuto, in D minor, is especially striking: a grave, sonorously scored sarabande, archaic in flavour, with a suggestion of a Baroque French overture in its dotted rhythms and imitative contrapuntal textures. Like the slow movement of No 24, it leads without a break into the finale, a guileless rondo marked innocentemente
and built around a fetching tune that could have been whistled on any Viennese street corner.
from notes by Richard Wigmore © 2007