“When he was on world tour, Jascha Heifetz liked to include music on the program by a composer of the country in which he was performing,” recalled Ayke Agus, a former student of the great violinist. She continued,
In 1923 he was in Mexico City and realized he didn’t have any work by a Mexican composer. While in a cafe there, he heard a local musician sing a popular song written by Manuel Ponce called Estrellita (My Little Star). He took notes on his napkin and that night, composed an arrangement for violin and piano based on the song. It became one of his favorite encores.
As a composer, Manuel Ponce (1882-1948) was influenced by the folk music of his native country. He composed the beautiful Mexican love serenade, Estrellita, in 1912. Heifetz performed his arrangement of the song in the 1939 film, They Shall Have Music. This studio recording, which features Heifetz with pianist Emanuel Bay, was made in 1946:
- Ponce-Heifetz: Estrellita, Jascha Heifetz, Emanuel Bay Amazon