Johannes Brahms: Hungarian Dance No.5


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

Embodying the fast and raucous Hungarian folk music that inspired this whole set of dances, No.5 is perhaps the most famous of them all. The quick tempo and memorable melodies come together to create a truly thrilling dance. The tempo starts quick and becomes even more frenzied by the end. Led by the strings, the rich and broad melody sweeps across the orchestra. As more instruments join in the intensity grows even stronger. When the percussion join in the drama of the music becomes the central point of the music. Brahms fluctuates between these boisterous sections and small quiet sections to create that light and shade in the music. A second theme is heard in the central section, but this is soon blown out of the water by the opening theme which returns with vengeance. Now even faster and more chaotic, the fully-realised theme brings this famous dance to an explosive finale. 


Ⓒ Alex Burns

Happy Reading!

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