They were both just twenty years young and always good for a musical laugh when they composed the serenades we have recorded on this CD. One of them, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, wrote his “Haffner Serenade” KV 250 for Sigmund Haffner d. J., who had commissioned him with a “Braut Musick” for his sister Marie Elisabeth's wedding with Franz Xaver Anton Späth from Salzburg. The other one, Othmar Schoeck, 130 years later humorously reverberated this genre, which had peaked in Mozart’s works composed from 1769 until 1779.
The genre of the serenade originates in the 16th century. Its purpose was to perform music outdoors at night so as to honor a beloved one or to show respect to a high-ranking person. In Salzburg, it developed into a separate tradition known as “Finalmusik”, with which the students of the University of Salzburg thanked their sovereign at the end of the academic year. At first, the musicians played the work commissioned for this occasion in the courtyard of the summer residence of the Prince-Archbishop. Afterwards, while marching through town, they performed a march also specially composed for the occasion, which had to be played by heart. Finally, a second performance was given for the University professors in front of the “Kollegiengebäude”, the main building of the University. As we know from Nannerl Mozart's diary, such prestigious event lasted for approximately two and a half hours, thus requiring more than merely a simple serenade. Therefore, besides the serenade, genres such as the notturno, kassation and divertimento were embedded in the “Finalmusik”. Among Salzburg composers regularly commissioned with “Finalmusiken” were Michael Haydn, Joseph Hafeneder and Mozart's father Leopold; he supposedly wrote over 30 serenades.