Johannes Brahms: Hungarian Dance No.12


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

Similarly to dance No.11, the twelfth Hungarian Dance is also primarily set in D minor. The woodwind opening is soon opposed by a fluttering string theme. The very quiet dynamic that opens this movement is soon blasted open by a tutti phrase marked forte. These quick changes in dynamic and texture lie as the foundation for this dance, as Brahms focuses on soloists within the orchestra. The bassoon and flute both have solos soon into the dance, whereas the strings band together and always play as one unit. The dichotomy between the quiet woodwind interludes and the boisterous string passages create excitement and energy within the music. After one last play of the theme, this dance concludes with a full orchestra chord, held no longer than half a beat.


Ⓒ Alex Burns

Happy Reading!

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