Scherzo-Tarantella for violin and piano op. 16 – a sparkling, glittering virtuoso miniature – was written in 1855, when Wieniawski’s violin career and fame were approaching their peak, at a time when, after two years spent on a concert tour of Europe with his brother, he returned to his native Lublin to spend some time there, and then set out on further concert tours, this time alone.
Scherzo was dedicated to Lambert Massart, a professor at the Paris Conservatory, who had been Wieniawski’s teacher. The work belongs to the category of virtuoso miniatures, but its character is less of a salon composition than Wieniawski’s other miniatures, such as Capriccio-Valse op. 7, or Romance sans paroles et Rondo élégant op. 9.
It was published in the version for solo violin with piano accompaniment, but the composer was also planning a version for violin with orchestral accompaniment, as evidenced by the autograph of the score; this leads to the conclusion that he intended it to be performed at concert halls rather than salons. The work is written with panache, and provides the soloist with an opportunity to display his technical skills, but it also contains a lyrical, sweet cantilena, so characteristic of Wieniawski’s work.