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Music Monday: Vittorio Monti's Czardas

Date: 5/19/2014

Twelve pianists at one piano. Sounds chaotic, right? But in this video of Vittorio Monti’s famous Csárdás (Czardas), transcribed by Haskell Small for the entire piano faculty of the Washington Conservatory of Music, there are exactly twelve pianists at one piano. They are Michael Adcok, Lydia Frumkin, Bradford Gowen, Maribeth Gowen, Anastassia Ivanova, Martin Labazevitch, Dionne Laufman, Sana Lebedev, Jaewon Lee, Haskell Small, Jeffery Watson, and Wayne Wilentz. Enjoy!

Czardas, written in 1904, is a well-known folk piece based on a Hungarian csárdás. Originally composed for violin, mandolin or piano, there are also arrangements for orchestra and other solo instruments.

In pop culture, Czardas was a featured piece involving dueling violins in the 1984 film Unfaithfully Yours. Figure skater Katarina Witt used the piece for her short program of the 1983-84 season (1984 Winter Olympics), and Japanese skater Mao Asado also used it for her long program in the 2006-07 season. Even more recently, American recording artist Lady Gaga used part of Czardas as an intro for her song "Alejandro" from her album The Fame Monster (2009).

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