Johannes Brahms: Hungarian Dance No.13


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

A tonal shift to D major opens the thirteenth Hungarian Dance. Initially marked ‘Andantino grazioso’, the tempo and character of the music soon burst out as Brahms marked the music ‘Vivace’. The big change in character as the music shifts between the two markings adds intensity to the music, as well as excitement as it’s not always obvious where the music will go next. Brahms utilises the woodwind in the opening, with the strings being used to bolster the texture and add to the drama of this short dance. As the orchestra unites for the loud central section, Brahms fluctuates the dynamics from very quiet to very loud. A return to the opening motif, now played by the upper strings, leads to the quiet conclusion of this dance.


Ⓒ Alex Burns

Happy Reading!

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