Johannes Brahms: Hungarian Dance No.1


Johannes Brahms completed his 21 Hungarian Dances by 1879, and they still remain one his most popular collections of music. All of the dances are based on traditional Hungarian folk tunes and range from c.1 minute to 6 minutes in duration. Some of the dances have become much more recognisable than others, but as a set they are a force to be reckoned with. During this 21-part ‘Explore Hungarian Dances’ on Classicalexburns, we will be delving into the ins and outs of this famous collection.


The Music

Hungarian Dance No.1 opens with a lilting melody from the strings that pushes the tempo along. The upper woodwind decorate this melody with sparkles and short interjections. The rich unison string theme leads the way into the next section, which sees the strings begin to part ways as the second theme begins. Brahms’ dramatic changes in dynamic add excitement to this dance as the very quiet sections are bulldozed by the loud and bold sections. 

A reprise of the opening theme returns as the strings unite once more. The fluctuating lilt is felt throughout a lot of this dance, which gives it its character. An explosive final few bars wraps the first dance up in a thrilling fashion.


Ⓒ Alex Burns

Happy Reading!

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