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8.550333 - MOZART: Haffner Serenade, K. 250 / March, K. 249
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756 - 1791)
Serenade K. 250 ("Haffner" Serenade)
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was born in Salzburg in 1756, the son of a court musician who, in the year of his youngest child's birth, published an influential book on violin-playing. Leopold Mozart rose to occupy the position of Vice-Kapellmeister to the Archbishop of Salzburg, but sacrificed his own creative career to that of his son, in whom he detected early signs of precocious genius. With the indulgence of his patron, he was able to undertake extended concert tours of Europe in which his son and his elder sister Nannerl were able to astonish audiences. The boy played both the keyboard and the violin and could improvise and soon write down his own compositions.
Childhood that had brought signal success was followed by a less satisfactory period of adolescence largely in Salzburg, under the patronage of a new and less sympathetic Archbishop. Mozart, like his father, found opportunities far too limited at home, while chances of travel were now restricted. In 1777, when leave of absence was not granted, he gave up employment in Salzburg to seek a future elsewhere, but neither Mannheim nor Paris, both musical centres of some importance, had any1hing for him. His Mannheim connections, however, brought a commission for an opera in Munich in 1781, and after its successful staging he was summoned by his patron to Vienna. There Mozart's dissatisfaction with his position resulted in a quarrel with the Archbishop and dismissal from his service.
The last ten years of Mozart's life were spent in Vienna in precarious independence of both patron and immediate paternal advice, a situation aggravated by an imprudent marriage. Initial success in the opera-house and as a performer was followed, as the decade went on, by increasing financial difficulties. By the time of his death in December 1791, however, his fortunes seemed about to change for the better, with the success of the German opera The Magic Flute, and the possibility of increased patronage.
The serenade in the later eighteenth century was an essentially occasional composition, designed for evening entertainment or celebration. These works were generally in a number of movements and proved particularly popular in Salzburg, where Leopold Mozart himself had contributed notably and prolifically to the genre. A serenade would normally open and close with a march and include a sonata-form movement, two slow movements and two or three minuets. Originally intended for outdoor performance and therefore entrusted principally to wind instruments, the form came to include indoor chamber or orchestral music of a similar character.
Siegmund Haffner was descended from a family long established at Jenbach in the Tyrol and in 1733 had become a citizen of Salzburg, where he had a prosperous business. In 1768 he was elected mayor, an office he held until his death in 1772. He left four daughters and a son, also Siegmund, an exact contemporary of Mozart, who won a considerable reputation locally for his generosity and was in 1782 ennobled by the Emperor, the occasion for Mozart's so-called Haffner Symphony, originally a serenade. In 1776 Haffner commissioned from Mozart a serenade for the eve of the wedding of his sister Marie Elisabeth and the merchant Franz Xaver Spath. The opening March bears the date of 20th July, the day before the performance in the garden-house of the Haffners, with the other movements of the Serenade composed earlier in the same month. Mozart made later use of the music both in Salzburg and in later years in Vienna and clearly regarded it as a work of some importance. It is scored for pairs of oboes alternating with flutes, bassoons, horns, trumpets and a string section of first and second violin, first and second viola and double bass, the last usually doubled by the cello, an instrument naturally excluded from less sedentary performances.
The entry March leads to a first movement with a relatively stately introduction, followed by a rapid sonata-form Allegro, its first subject initially shared by oboes, bassoons and strings, these last entrusted with the second subject. This D major movement of symphonic proportions leads to a G major Andante in which oboes are now replaced by flutes, with prominence given to a solo violin. The first of the three Minuets of the Serenade, in G minor, has a G major Trio scored only for solo violin, flutes, bassoons and horns, and the solo violin has its own role to play in the ensuing Rondeau. Oboes and trumpets return for the D major Menuetto Galante, with its gentle D minor Trio scored only for strings, while the following A major Andante, in which the trumpets are silent once more, is at first entrusted to the strings. The last of the three Minuets is scored for flutes, horns, trumpets and strings, its D major answered by a first G major Trio, with solo flute, solo bassoon and strings, and by a second Trio in D major for flutes, bassoons, horns, trumpets and strings. Flutes are replaced by oboes for the Adagio that leads to a sparkling Allegro assai, the whole Serenade rounded by a repetition of the March, to the sound of which the musicians withdraw.
Takako Nishizaki is one of the most frequently recorded violinists in the world today. She has recorded ten volumes of her complete Fritz Kreisler Edition, many contemporary Chinese violin concertos, among them the Concerto by Du Ming-xin, dedicated to her, and a growing number of rare, previously unrecorded violin concertos, among them concertos by Spohr, Beriot, Cui, Respighi, Rubinstein and Joachim. For Naxos she has recorded Vivaldi's Four Seasons, Mozart's Violin Concertos, Sonatas by Mozart and Beethoven and the Mendelssohn, Tchaikovsky, Beethoven, Bruch and Brahms Concertos.
Johannes Wildner Johannes Wildner was born in the Austrian resort of Mürzzuschlag in 1956 and studied violin and conducting, taking his diploma at the Vienna Musikhochschule and proceeding to a doctorate in musicology. A member of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, Johannes Wildner has toured widely as leader of the Vienna Symphony Orchestra's Johann Strauss Ensemble and of the Vienna Mozart Academy. As a conductor he has directed the Orchestra Sinfonica dell'Emilia Romagna Arturo Toscanini, the Budapest State Opera Orchestra, the Silesian Philharmonic and the Malmo Symphony Orchestra.
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