Saturday, April 2, 2011

Johannes Brahms: Hungarian Dance No. 5

Brahms: Hungarian Dance No. 5 in G minor. The Russian  Bolshoi Symphony Orchestra: Tomomi Nishimoto, conductor.
Via: Youtube

Johannes Brahms, the nineteenth-century German composer and pianist, was one of the leading Romantic period composers. Brahms was a contemporary of Franz Liszt. His main musical influences were Franz Schubert and Robert Schumann, and to a lesser extent Frédéric Chopin and Felix Mendelssohn

Brahms completed the Hungarian Dances, a set of 21 lively dance tunes based mostly on Hungarian musical themes, in 1869. Although considered lighter works by music critics,  the public adored and cherished these popular dances then and they still remain popular today. I can see why. It has an emotionality, a mix of happiness, joy and thoughtful melancholy.

Only numbers 11, 14 and 16 are entirely original compositions. Dance no 5 is based on the work of another composer, Kéler Béla, which Brahms thought was a traditional folksong:
In fact, number 5 was based on the csárdás by Kéler Béla titled "Bártfai emlék" which Brahms mistakenly thought was a traditional folksong.[1] They vary from about a minute to four minutes in length. They are among Brahms' most popular works, and were certainly the most profitable for him.

Each dance has been arranged for a wide variety of instruments and ensembles. Brahms originally wrote the version for piano four-hands and later arranged the first 10 dances for solo piano. The most famous Hungarian Dance is No. 5 in F♯ minor; [and] G minor in the orchestral version.

Johannes Brahms [1833-97]: Taken in 1853 when he was twenty. “Without craftsmanship, inspiration is a mere reed shaken in the wind.”
Source: Wikipedia