published Thursday, November 8th, 2012

UTC piano recital has pieces for 2, 4, 8 hands

A Piano Studio Recital featuring the students of Dr. Sin-Hsing Tsai, scheduled today, Nov. 8, at UTC, will include pieces written for two, four and eight hands.

Among the compositions to be performed are works by Chopin, Liszt, Mozart, Rachmaninoff, Arensky and Ravel.

"The students performing are all either winners or runners-up of various music competitions, as well as recipients of numerous awards, so this recital will showcase a spectacular evening of musical ability," according to a news release.

Two of the most noteworthy performances will be Francois-Adrien Boieldieu's "Der Kalif von Bagdad" and Aram Khachaturian's "Sabre Dance." Both pieces were composed for two pianos and eight hands, a rare form of piano quartet.

According to Music Department officials, this type of ensemble was popular in the late 19th century before the advent of recordings, as it was a mechanism to reproduce and study symphonic works.

"Der Kalif von Bagdad" is an opera comique in one act. It was Boieldieu's first major triumph and was part of the vogue for operas on Oriental subjects.

Like many of the pieces to be performed, "Sabre Dance" should be easily recognizable as it has been used in numerous films, animated films, TV series, video games and commercials over the years.

The piece's familiarity has been enhanced by its traditional use as accompaniment by traveling circuses and on television variety shows such as "The Ed Sullivan Show" when novelty acts appeared.

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