I’ve just come across this absolute gem when trawling YouTube for a decent version of Monti’s Czardas played on the xylophone. Many years ago I won a competition run by RTÉ’s Rattlebag to have a piece of my choosing played by the RTÉ National Concert Orchestra. The piece they played for me was L’Arlesienne Suite II: Farandole, by Bizet. There were about a dozen pieces played on the evening and the audience were given forms with which to vote for their preferred piece. The most popular piece was deemed to be the winner and the person who chose it won a holiday in Austria. Alas, that person was not me. To the best of my recollection, it was a woman who had chosen this Czardas having once heard a rendition on the xylophone played on the radio one day. So spirited was the music that she ended up subsequently dancing around the kitchen, along with her eleven year old son. Or so the story goes. Anyway, she went off to Austria, and I didn’t.
Trips to the high alps aside, it’s still a fantastic piece of music, hence my search for it. I came across this little beauty today. It’s the Miss America Competition in 1992 and the performer is none other than that right aul Southern gal herself, Miss Southern Carolina, Carrie Lee Davis. I think it’s the shoulder pads that really do it for me. It’s like a the love child of the percussion section and Dynasty. Enjoy!
And here’s my piece, Bizet’s Farandole. Wonderful in itself, there was now way that it could ever stand up to the popular appeal of the hirsute Italian percussionist of the RTÉ Concert Orchestra, as he bet his sticks to Czardas!