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About this Piece

In the case of the Sonata in D major by Joseph Haydn (1732-1809), I call your attention to an absence rather than a presence. There is no second movement.

At the very moment when we are conditioned to expect a lyrical slow interlude, a galumphing and garrulous dance erupts! And in a flash it is all over. The entire Sonata lasts for little more than a handful of minutes.

Written during the composer’s second visit to London in 1794/95 when his fame was uncontested (Mozart was recently dead) and a period which Haydn himself described as his happiest days, this little gem represents two of the qualities for which Haydn is beloved: unpredictability and amiable good humor. It should be noted that this is not just a little bagatelle jotted down by an old man in his dotage. The great and vast oratorios The Creation and The Seasons still lay ahead of him, and there are many technical and structural sophistications that can be found and analyzed in this brief miniature. It is instead the result of a master bending his creativity to delight rather than to overwhelm.