Happy birthday to me. And on my birthday, I will choose to be serenaded, by Mozart, through the magic of Jascha Heifetz.
If you are curious, this is the fourth movment of a much larger work, composed by the 20-year old Mozart in 1776 for the wedding of Marie Elisabeth Haffner (the same family commissioned one of Mozart’s best known symphonies, which is also dedicated to them). The Rondo of the Haffner Serenade was a staple encore piece for Heifetz, whose total control over every element of technique can be seen here. He makes the technically precise look routine.
Mozart played the violin and there are many accounts of the child prodigy being placed on a stool to play so he could be seen by everyone. While Mozart’s public performances shifted to the piano as he got older, this composition betrays his deep familiarity with the instrument. There are no uncomfortable fingerings here and the music lends itself to interesting coloration through bowing choices.
Here is the full verison of the work:
W.A. Mozart, Serenade for Orchestra in D Major “Haffner”: