Vittorio Monti, an Italian born in Naples, composed ballets, operettas, pantomimes, as well as instrumental, vocal and violin pieces. Today, Monti is best remembered for writing Czardas.
Monti studied violin at the conservatory in San Pietro at Majella, and composition with Paolo Serrao. He went to Paris in 1886 and became the concertmaster in the Lamoureux Orchestra. Later, he became a conductor in Paris.
The Czardas is a Hungarian national dance in two movements, one slow and the other fast. It’s interesting that most gypsy orchestras know and play the Czardas of Monti, a Neapolitan composer. Moreover, these dances are singularly the cause of Monti’s fame.
Hungarian folk music has made itself felt in the world of classical music. Great composers such as Haydn, Beethoven, Liszt, Dvorak, Brahms and Bartok have used the unusual rhythms, scales, and harmonies, in their compositions, often in final movements. The distinctive soulfulness of the music, a yearning quality, even a pathos, has intrigued and inspired great musical minds for more than 200 years.