Digital Program - Znaider

Estrellita MANUEL MARÍA PONCE (1882-1948) In 1923 the young Jascha Heifetz performed in Mexico City for the first time in his career. On the day of the concert, sitting in a local café, he heard a local musician playing a lovely song. He liked that song so much that he immediately arranged it for violin and piano, and a few hours later played it in the concert. The song, Estrellita - Spanish for “Little Star” - has become one of Heifetz’s favorite encores, and was played in the 1939 movie “They Shall Have Music” in which Heifetz starred. The song was written by Manuel María Ponce, one of the most prominent Mexican composers in the first half of the 20th century. During his artistic career he studied in Bologna, Berlin and Paris, taught in the conservatory of Mexico City, spent two years in Cuba, and most importantly - wrote dozens of works in his unique style. As Heitor Villa-Lobos in Brazil, Aharon Copland in the United States and Paul Ben Haim in Israel, Ponce created a new style, combining elements from Western Classical music with traditional Mexican songs. His music was - and still is - very popular, and reaches large audiences in every social group. Paul Dukas, who was Ponce’s teacher in Paris, was so impressed with his work that he awarded him a "30" on his final exam; the highest grade one could get was a "10”. Ponce published Estrellita in 1914, although it was written not later than 1912. It is a monologue of a woman in love, who is not sure whether her beloved one loves her back. Her love torments her - she feels that she can not live without him. She asks a little star she sees in the sky to come down and let her know whether her beloved one loves her the way she loves him. The music is sweet, romantic, full of expressive melodic leaps, and is usually played very freely. Tonight we will play the song in Jascha Heifetz’s arrangement, orchestrated by J.A.C Redford. Oded Shnei-Dor ca. 3 mins.