The Haydn Piano Sonatas
Scott Foglesong, piano

Sonata in A Major HXVI:12

An unusual feature of this sonata is its cantilena opening movement, in the fortspinnung style — that is, a single short motivic idea continually spun out and worked into a long melodic line. Athough the sonata has had its authenticity questioned from time to time, nowadays the verdict seems to be strong in favor of its being by Haydn.

First Movement: Andante

The movement is reminiscent of an early piano trio (i.e., accompanied piano sonata). A simple, but lyrical triplet melody is continually developed, all within a context of a light sonata form with primary, secondary, and closing themes. In my performance I have kept ornamentation to only the minimum required by the notation, and I don't ornament the repeats. Personally I dislike heavily-ornamented repeats; they generally sound to me as though a couple of nervous parakeets got loose on the piano.

Second Movement: Menuet

A delicate Galant menuet is contrasted with a relatively dramatic minor-mode trio. The trio, in fact, seems rather influenced by the Empfindsamkeit of C.P.E. Bach, in its constant syncopation and restless chromaticism. In honor of that style, I have ornamented the repeats in the Trio a bit more than is my usual custom, although I hope without having subjected it to a budgie infestation.

Third Movement: Finale

Although the third movement is given no tempo marking, I have interpreted it as a madcap Presto. For one thing, the piece needs a bit of livening up at this point. For another, it works wonderfully as a Scarlatti-style keyboard frolic.