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#481845 - 11/12/07 12:04 AM Brahms Hungarian Dances
BigBadBill12 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/14/06
Posts: 61
Are the brahms hungarian dances devilishly hard? One of my friends (who, by the way is a superb pianist) recommended them (more specifically the first two) but they sound rather frightening...

the only links I found on youtube is here


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#481846 - 11/12/07 12:09 AM Re: Brahms Hungarian Dances
pianojerome Offline
9000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/01/05
Posts: 9868
They're amazing! I don't know how hard they are, but you should definately listen to them. They're not as long as the Liszt Rhapsodies, and I actually like them better. My own music that I compose is very Eastern European, and I spent a bit of time one night last week studying these dances as models for a piece I'm performing on Wednesday.

They are in at least 3 versions: orchestra; solo piano 4-hands; solo piano 2-hands. The 4th is sooooo good in the orchestral version.

#481847 - 11/12/07 12:11 AM Re: Brahms Hungarian Dances
pianojerome Offline
9000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/01/05
Posts: 9868
Here's a *great* youtube video:


#481848 - 11/12/07 12:21 AM Re: Brahms Hungarian Dances
Minaku Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/26/07
Posts: 1226
Loc: Atlanta
I'd say they're pretty difficult, but with enough dedicated study you'll be able to do them. The fun factor alone is worth it.

Don't forget to check out Debussy's work for 4 hands and the Dvorak Slavonic Dances!
Pianist and teacher with a 5'8" Baldwin R and Clavi CLP-230 at home.

New website up: http://www.studioplumpiano.com. Also on Twitter @QQitsMina

#481849 - 11/12/07 12:26 AM Re: Brahms Hungarian Dances
pianojerome Offline
9000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/01/05
Posts: 9868
Oh, Dvorak, of course!

Don't feel restricted to the piano solos only. Check out Dorati's orchestral recording of the Hungarian Dances. Check out Jarvi's recording of the Dvorak Slavonic Dances. #7 from the Dvorak is a great, great piece -- lovely clarinet solos.

And while we're on the topic of folk-based music, check out Enescu's Romanian Rhapsodies, too. I don't know how popular the piano versions are. When I was in high school, we played the 1st Rhapsody in symphony orchestra -- what a treat!

#481850 - 11/12/07 12:33 AM Re: Brahms Hungarian Dances
BigBadBill12 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/14/06
Posts: 61
Haha thank you

and I'll definately check out the orchestral versions as well \:\)

#481851 - 11/12/07 08:15 AM Re: Brahms Hungarian Dances
Bassio Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/24/03
Posts: 2480
Loc: Alexandria, Egypt
I love them. The orchestral versions were orchestrated by various reputable composers and conductors (including I believe Dvorak himself)

#481852 - 11/12/07 08:19 AM Re: Brahms Hungarian Dances
Bassio Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/24/03
Posts: 2480
Loc: Alexandria, Egypt
But who wrote the solo piano versions? Brahms I assume?

#481853 - 11/12/07 08:56 AM Re: Brahms Hungarian Dances
pianoloverus Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/29/01
Posts: 19836
Loc: New York City
The F major is the easiest. Most of the rest require a virtuoso technique.

#481854 - 11/12/07 10:38 AM Re: Brahms Hungarian Dances
dannylux Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/15/06
Posts: 1829
Loc: Connecticut
Originally posted by Bassio:
But who wrote the solo piano versions? Brahms I assume? [/b]
Brahms transcribed only 10 of the 21 Hungarian Dances for piano solo.

Schuett transcribed 11-21, as did Kirchner.

My Recordings

"Love has nothing to do with what you are expecting to get — only what you are expecting to give — which is everything. What you will receive in return varies. But it really has no connection with what you give. You give because you love and cannot help giving." Katharine Hepburn

#481855 - 11/12/07 11:20 AM Re: Brahms Hungarian Dances
BruceD Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 18526
Loc: Victoria, BC
"Later that year (1868), on another visit to Oldenburg, Brahms partnered Clara Schumann in what seems to have been the first complete performance of his Hungarian Dances (ten so far) for piano duet, although some had already existed (and been played) in solo piano form for over a decade." [1]

"[Brahms] played some of the Hungarian Dances as solo piano pieces to his friends in the summer of 1858, and Clara performed several in recitals during the next decade. Early in 1867 Brahms offered six dances to the Budapest publisher Dunkl, only to have them turned down; the first collection of ten dances did not appear in print until 1869, from Simrock, and then for the fuller-textured medium of piano duet - though Brahms also issued a solo piano version in 1872 and subsequenhtly transcribed three for orchestra. (Standard orchestrations of the rest, by other hands, soon followed, as Simrock comprehensively exploited their immense popularity)."[2]

"...the second group of Hungarian Dances for piano duet, nos 11-21. Simrock had persuaded Brahms to capitalize on the immense success of the first group by writing a follow-up, and they were issued in 1880, simultaneously with the op. 79 Rhapsodies, as Books 3 and 4. [...] Dvorak was so fond of these later dances that he orchestrated the whole of Book 4, giving them in the process a rather Slavonic tang that seems to reveal a stylistic similarity between Czech and gypsy music." [3]

[1] MacDonald, Malcolm. Brahms, Oxford University Press, 1990. pp. 137-38

[2] Op. cit., p. 192

[3] Op. cit., pp. 267-68
- - - - -
Estonia 190

#481856 - 11/12/07 11:49 AM Re: Brahms Hungarian Dances
BigBadBill12 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/14/06
Posts: 61
can someone help me in selecting about 6-7 minutes worth of these hungarian dances for solo piano?

#481857 - 11/12/07 12:08 PM Re: Brahms Hungarian Dances
signa Offline
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/06/04
Posts: 8483
Loc: Ohio, USA
they're hard, "that's why very few pianists want to play them", as my teacher said. he was thinking about recording 5-10 of them (Brahms piano solo version), and played the 1st one for me (as he's learning it) at lesson, but he hasn't had much time to work on the project.

#481858 - 11/12/07 12:16 PM Re: Brahms Hungarian Dances
BigBadBill12 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/14/06
Posts: 61
oh... ii see

well i've got some time on my hands and I think it would be fun \:D

is the first one a must-play?

#481859 - 11/12/07 12:55 PM Re: Brahms Hungarian Dances
Goldberg Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/08/03
Posts: 1233
Loc: U.S.
I'm a huge fan of the Hungarian Dances, as well. Fantastic melodies, great rhythmic vitality, and a sense of gypsy harmonizations. I wanted to also suggest that you don't miss out on Cziffra's transcriptions of these works, for which he tried to combine the two piano versions into solo piano (and perhaps with a little of the violin arrangement thrown in as well), and then added his own, not distasteful, pianistic flair. Despite what you may think of his other arrangements, these ones for the most part are really quite enjoyable and not overly virtuosic, at least not to the level of detracting from the music. If nothing else, he certainly understands the gypsy idiom. Interesting and exciting!

#481860 - 11/12/07 01:55 PM Re: Brahms Hungarian Dances
gabytu Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/26/05
Posts: 1522
Loc: Portland, Or.
Well here I am an adult beginner--well not really a beginner, but one who has resumed the piano after years (decades), of not playing.

Not knowing any better, I decided to wade into Brahms Hungarian Dance #7. My ever patient and wise teacher did not stop me. At first I thought I would never be able to do all the leaping around and those parallel double octaves looked formidable.

So, I did with CC Chang recommended. Took it measure by measure---memorizing as I went along, and lo and behold, I have most of it memorized, and can play it from beginning to end without
too much stumbling.

Is it a polished performance. Not by a long shot. Would I record it to send for you all to hear. Heavens No. But, at the same time I have a great sense of accomplishement.

Most importantly, this composition has helped me develop as sense of the keyboard (other than just five finger positions). I can actually leap around with ease, and actually land on the right note.

If I can do it, I know that all of you can do it. They are lots of fun. I am going to start #1, or maybe # 5 next. Gaby tu


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